Thursday, September 22, 2016

On God's Gift of Sex

Having written an entire chapter on dissent from Humanae vitae in the U. S., it was heartening to read that nearly 50 years after this “prophetic” papal document, more than 500 Catholic scholars with doctoral degrees in theology, medicine, law and other fields have recently signed a document in support of Catholic teaching, titled Affirmation of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality.” 

Humanae vitae speaks against the distorted view of human sexuality and intimate relationships that many in the modern world endorse. The document was prophetic in predicting some of the evils that would result from widespread use of contraception.

Dissent from Humanae vitae centers around the claim there are “no grounds” for Catholic teaching against contraception, questioning the idea that openness to procreation is inherent to the significance of sexual intercourse, and that the choice to use contraceptives for either family planning or prophylactic purposes can be a responsible and ethical decision and even, at times, an moral imperative.
Blessed Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical reaffirmed the traditional Christian rejection of contraception and said it applied to the birth control pill, drawing significant opposition from non-Catholics and from some within the Church who had been campaigning against Church teaching. The Church holds that sex is designed by God to be both unitive and procreative, and that attempting to separate these two aspects of human sexuality through artificial contraception is immoral. If a married couple faces a just reason to avoid pregnancy, the Church teaches that they may do so through Natural Family Planning, a process that works with a woman’s natural fertile cycles and abstaining from sexual activity during the times that she is fertile.
The 500 Catholic scholars maintained that Church teaching is “true and defensible” on the basis of Scripture and reason, describing Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross as “the ultimate and complete self-gift” linked to the biblical spousal imagery of Our Lord and His Church. Human sexual relations fulfill God's intent only, the scholars said, when they “respect the procreative meaning of the sexual act” and take place as a “complete gift of self” within marriage.
Since the 1960s the widespread use of contraception has contributed greatly to the increase of sex outside of marriage, to an increase of unwed pregnancies, abortion, single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce, poverty, the exploitation of women and the porn industry, declining marriage rates, and declining population growth in many parts of the world.
To those Catholics who continue to dissent from Humanae vitae:  please deepen your relationship” with God. Be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit, and ask Jesus Christ to give you the graces needed to live in accord with God’s will for their married lives, even the difficult moral truths.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Libido Redux: Going Down Under

In my The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God, I cited Third Wave feminist author Naomi Wolf, who came to realize that those feminists who had opposed pornography were right:
The whole world, post-Internet, did become pornographized. Young men and women are indeed being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training—and this is having a huge effect on how they interact.

But the effect is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention…. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.

Further evidcence that Paul VI was a visionary in Humane Vitae:

SEX BEFORE KISSING: HOW 15-YEAR-OLD GIRLS ARE DEALING WITH PORN-ADDICTED BOYS
 April 1, 2016



“[I want] better education regarding sex for both boys and girls [and] information about pornography, and the way it influences harmful sexual practices.”
These are the words of Lucy, aged 15, one of 600 young Australian women and girls who took part in a just-released survey commissioned by Plan Australia and Our Watch. The survey, conducted by Ipsos, gathered responses from the girls and young women aged 15-19 in all states and territories.
In the survey report, entitled Don’t send me that pic, participants reported that online sexual abuse and harassment were becoming a normal part of their everyday interactions. And while the behavior seemed so common, more than 80% said it was unacceptable for boyfriends to request naked images.
Sexual bullying and harassment are part of daily life for many girls growing up as a part of this digital generation. Young girls are speaking out more and more about how these practices have links with pornography—because it’s directly affecting them.
Pornography is molding and conditioning the sexual behaviors and attitudes of boys, and girls are being left without the resources to deal with these porn-saturated boys.
If there are still any questions about whether porn has an impact on young people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors, perhaps it’s time to listen to young people themselves. Girls and young women describe boys pressuring them to provide acts inspired by the porn they consume routinely. Girls tell of being expected to put up with things they don’t enjoy.
Some see sex only in terms of performance, where what counts most is the boy enjoying it. I asked a 15-year-old about her first sexual experience. She replied: “I think my body looked OK. He seemed to enjoy it.” Many girls seem cut off from their own sense of pleasure or intimacy. The main marker of a “good” sexual encounter is only if he enjoyed it. Girls and young women are under a lot of pressure to give boys and men what they want, to become a real life embodiment of what the boys have watched in porn, adopting exaggerated roles and behaviors and providing their bodies as mere sex aids. Growing up in today’s porn culture, girls quickly learn that they are service stations for male gratification and pleasure.
When asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” an 8th grade girl replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].” A male high school student said to a girl: “If you [give me oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.” Girls are expected to provide sex acts for tokens of affection, and are coached through it by porn-taught boys. A 15-year-old girl said she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.
7th grade girls are increasingly seeking help on what to do about requests for naked images. Receiving texts like “send me a picture of your tits” is an almost daily occurrence for many young girls. The girl asks: “How do I say no without hurting his feelings?”
As the Plan Australia/Our Watch report found, girls are tired of being pressured for images they don’t want to send, but they seem resigned to send them anyways because of how normal the practice has become. Boys then typically use the images as a form of currency, to swap and share with their friends. Often times boys will use the revealing pics to humiliate girls publicly if there is a bad break up.
7th grade girls are asking questions about bondage and S&M. Many of them have seen 50 Shades of Grey, and wonder if a boy wants to hit me, tie me up and stalk me, does that mean he loves me? Girls are tolerating demeaning and disrespectful behaviors, and thereby internalizing pornography’s messages about their submissive role.
Girls describe being groped in the school yard, and being routinely sexually harassed at school or on the school bus on the way home. They are saying that boys act like they are entitled to girls’ bodies, like girls are only there to pleasure them. It is partially true what defenders of porn often say, porn does provide sex education—but not in the way they think. It teaches middle school boys that women and girls are there for his pleasure and that they are always up for sex. To them, no just means persuade me.
Girls describe being ranked at school on their bodies, and are sometimes compared to the bodies of porn stars. They know they can’t compete, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking that they have to. Requests for genital surgery have tripled in a little over a decade among young women aged 15-24. Girls who don’t undergo porn-inspired waxing are often considered ugly, dirty, or gross by boys, as well as by other girls.
Some girls suffer physical injury from porn-inspired sexual acts, including anal sex. The director of a domestic violence centre on the Gold Coast wrote to Collective Shout about the increase in porn-related injuries to girls aged 14 and up, from acts including torture:
“In the past few years we have had a huge increase in intimate partner rape of women from 14 to 80+. The biggest common denominator is consumption of porn by the offender. With offenders not able to differentiate between fantasy and reality, believing women are ‘up for it’ 24/7, ascribing to the myth that ‘no means yes and yes means anal,’ oblivious to injuries caused and never ever considering consent. We have seen a huge increase in deprivation of liberty, physical injuries, torture, drugging, filming and sharing footage without consent.”
The Australian Psychological Society estimates that adolescent boys are responsible for around 20% of rapes of adult women and between 30% and 50% of all reported sexual assaults of children. Just last week, Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs argued that online pornography is turning children into copycat sexual predators, acting out on other children what they are seeing in porn.
A 2012 review of research on “The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents” found that adolescent consumption of internet porn was linked to attitudinal changes, including acceptance of male dominance and female submission as the primary sexual paradigm, with women viewed as “sexual playthings eager to fulfill male sexual desires.” The authors found that “adolescents who are intentionally exposed to violent sexually explicit material were six times more likely to be sexually aggressive than those who were not exposed.”
The proliferation and globalization of hypersexualized imagery and pornographic themes makes healthy sexual exploration almost impossible. Sexual conquest and domination are untempered by the bounds of respect, intimacy and authentic human connection. Young people are not learning about intimacy, friendship and love, but about cruelty and humiliation. As a recent study found:
“Online mainstream pornography overwhelmingly centered on acts of violence and degradation toward women, the sexual behaviors exemplified in pornography skew away from intimacy and tenderness and typify patriarchal constructions of masculinity and femininity.”
It is intimacy and tenderness that so many girls and young women say they are looking for. But how will young women find these sensual, slow-burn experiences in men indoctrinated by pornography? Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says of young men: “They don’t know the language of face to face contact … Constant arousal, change, novelty excitement makes them out of sync with slow developing relationships – relationships which build slowly.”
Most importantly, it’s young people themselves demanding change. Josie, 18, is quoted in the Plan Australia/Our Watch report:
“We need some sort of crack down on the violent pornography that is currently accessible to boys and men. This violent pornography should be illegal to make or view in Australia as we clearly have a problem with violence and boys are watching a lot of pornography which can be very violent … This is influencing men’s attitude towards women and what they think is acceptable. Violent pornography is infiltrating Australian relationships.”
Girls like Lucy and Josie deserve our response. It is wrong to leave sexual formation in the hands of the global sex industry. We need to do more to help young people stand up against warped notions of sexuality conveyed in pornography.


Fight the New Drug is all about pro-love and pro-healthy sexuality. That is why we are anti-porn. Porn is full of ideals and beliefs that are completely opposite of what real relationships, real sex, and real love are like. Healthy relationships are built on equality, honesty, respect, and love. But in porn, it’s the reverse; interactions are based on domination, disrespect, abuse, violence, and detachment. Our generation is the first to deal with the issue of pornography to this intensity and scale. And, as we’ve seen with today’s society,  if we don’t take a stand, the problem is only going to get worse and worse. By being informed and understanding porn’s harmful effects, we can make a much needed change to our perceptions about love, sex, and relationships.
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Monday, September 5, 2016

Libido Redux: Jesus on Sexual Sin

I have debated many who say that Jesus did not care about sexual sins-- just sins of omission leading to social injustice. These progressives would even deny that ALL of the  sins which cry out to heaven for vengeance, were serious as far as the Savior was concerned! Here is a detailed examination of why they are wrong.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Libido Redux: Robotics

LOVE MACHINE 
Humans could become addicted to mind-blowing romps with SEX ROBOTS, according to expert
Interested in this whole raunchy robot thing? Approach with caution, is the warning
BY HANNAH FERRETT

4th September 2016, 10:53 am
We’ve already reported on claims that teenagers could soon be losing their virginity to the mechanical love machines, with scientists also said to be working on robot sex brothel to cut the risk of STIs.
GETTY IMAGES - FILMMAGIC


This could be the future
But now comes the warning – according to a expert in the field, we’ll need to be careful we don’t get addicted to artificial intelligence love making.
Joel Snell is an American Research Fellow from Kirkwood College, and he’s told the Daily Star there’s a real risk linked to the robots.
That’s because they’ll offer great sex at any time of the day and night.
GETTY IMAGES


We’ve been warned to be careful how we use sex robots
There’ll be no need to for a bond with the robot, plus it’ll never be able to turn you down.
“People may become obsessed by their ever faithful, ever pleasing sex robot lovers,”  he warned.

“People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions.”

Living on the Rock


I often have to explain to colleagues that the Bible is not the only source for Christian revelation, but to it must also be added Sacred Tradition and magisterial teaching, which means that Jesus continues to teach and guide His Church through the Pope and the bishops in union with him. AS an example, recall Our Lord's inspiration of Blessed Pope Paul VI to prohibit contraception in Humanae Vitae, after the Pope initiated a commission to investigate whether or not the traditional teaching could be developed to allow for the regulation of births. Our first Pope is one of the few Apostles whose words and actions are displayed throughout the Gospel narratives, which, if one is familiar with them, reminds one that the rock on which the Church is built is a rock precisely because Peter is divinely supported, as are his successors. 

The papacy is an office established, supported, and guided by Jesus Christ Himself.  Yes, the papacy has been occupied by men who have scandalized that office. Alexander VI comes to mind.... Even St. Peter's understanding of the Messiah was wrong from the start (see Mt. 16:21-23)


Can “the rock” get stuck in worldly thinking? Indeed, the history of the papacy is scarred by men who were lascivious, penurious, fathered children, and were more concerned with power than the proclamation of the Gospel. Paul rebuked Peter, “because he clearly was wrong.” (Gal 2:14)

Now to Peter’s successor, Pope Francis. We must be open to the possibility that his Laudato si needs clarification, for no one has the authority to alter the Sacred Tradition that has been handed on to the faithful for 2000 years, to amalgamate Sacred Tradition with modern thinking contrary to the natural moral law.

As I recount in my book, our opponent the Devil prowls about the world, seeking the ruin of souls, and so we must resist him, solid in our faith in Christ’s promise that, despite the feebleness and even sinfulness of “Peter”, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Body of Christ (though they will never cease trying). We must do this even if it means we face a “Peter and Paul” minute, when the Pope needs to be respectfully confronted, critiqued. 

So much hope, grace, and power Our Lord desires to pour upon His Bride! Let us seek first His Kingdom and rely on His promises to "the Rock", because He is faithful.




Friday, September 2, 2016

Almost Made Me Cry

A Suicide in Brooklyn Raises Questions about Parochial Education

The Wednesday before last, the liturgical Ordo exsequiarum (Order of Christian Funerals) was celebrated in Staten Island, New York for a Brooklyn Catholic school boy who took his own life last month. Thirteen-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick was laid to his earthly rest just weeks shy of beginning what would have been this month the start of a new academic year. For Fitzpatrick, the impending academic year was to begin at a new school, separated from the peers who he writes tormented him and removed from the teachers and administration who he says ignored the abuse and his incessant pleas for help. Following the tragedy, the question for the Church is: Are children in Catholic education being educated properly in the true faith?
In a letter that the family says he wrote last month, Fitzpatrick, reported to be a boy scout and an altar boy at the Staten Island parish at which his funeral Mass was celebrated, left a vivid account of the torment inflicted upon him by bullying peers at Holy Angels Catholic Academy over the Narrows in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. In the letter—a digital version of which was disseminated widely by a newspaper—penned in blue ink on loose-leaf paper, and unmistakable as the writing of a child, Fitzpatrick says of the bullies and their abuse upon him: “[T]hey did it constantly” and eventually “I gave up,” further remarking that “the teachers … didn’t do ANYTHING!” (original emphasis).
His family reports that school officials did little to help their son, suggesting that his peers and school employees are complicit in his suicide. Both internal administrative and external law enforcement investigations (as well as reporting by a sensationalist press that relish dramatic quarreling) have commenced in order to understand more clearly the circumstances surrounding Fitzpatrick’s death, the ultimate findings of which will aid in the discernment of what administrative codes may require alteration. The investigations will also focus on the family—what they did or did not do, which theprint press has already begun investigating independently. Contradictory and disparate stories are being told by the family, and now through their lawyer-spokesman, as well as by the Academy, which is speaking publicly through the public relations arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
It will likely never be known—especially considering the probability that there was a confluence of factors—precisely, and truly, what led Fitzpatrick to make that ultimate decision inside the family’s Staten Island home. Those investigations, and the speculation, at any rate are better left in the above-mentioned domains; rather to be asked at present is the crucial question for both Fitzpatrick’s local Catholic community and the universal Catholic community: If the Church—querying its every layer—failed the soul of young Daniel Fitzpatrick by not properly inculcating in him the moral teachings of the Church, which would have given him strength, and reason, to continue living in the midst of his mental suffering.
II.
The primary duty of the ordained Catholic priest or bishop is to save souls. For, theologically, it is the priest—imperfect and sinful, as are all human beings—who stands in the living flesh as a conduit between the lay Catholic and the perfect being, the Lord and savior himself, Jesus Christ. If for every one man, woman, and child, there were an available priest assigned to him, to guide him daily from when the sun rises to when the sun sets, then with the priest the Church community could entrust every responsibility of guidance and the saving of one’s soul. Of course there is not, however, a priest available to shadow every man, woman, and child, every day for the entirety of their lives, hence it falls upon the whole community of believers to instruct, guide, and assist their brethren in the salvation of their respective souls.
As Saint Paul writes, all the parts of the Church body are necessary for a properly functioning church community, just as all the parts of the human body are necessary for the proper functioning of a human body (1 Cor 12:12-27). Further, to use Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy for guidance, a properly ordered community will constitute all proper elements so that the individuals who make up the whole may reach the proper end. For Saint Thomas Aquinas, that end is eternal life with the first mover.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, one sees how in the early Christian community it fell upon those of the commonweal to bring others to veritas (truth).
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near (10:24-25).
What might Fitzpatrick’s death signal about the functionality of the Church body? Is the Church body taking seriously the wisdom of Socrates, who argued that incomplete or disordered education will not only impact all facets of a youth’s later disposition, but also his subsequent interaction with the community of which he is a part, which shall thereby induce rot to the whole?
As a member of Catholic familial, parish, educational, diocesan, and Church universal communities, did young Fitzpatrick receive from his priest, sisters, brothers, his community members, his religious education teachers, the adult members of his school and parish, and his family—indeed, from all with whom he came into contact in the Catholic communities of which he was a member—the proper spiritual guidance and catechesis requisite for him to be able to fully “worship the Father in Spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23)? Did they teach young Fitzpatrick how to live, why to live, for what to live, and for whom to live? Did they demonstrate to him that his own life was worth living by teaching, and living themselves as role models in accordance with, the rich and timeless moral and spiritual teachings of the Church?
In sum, was Fitzpatrick given the tools required for his soul to feel as did Saint Peter’s when he wrote to the Galatians?
I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me (2:19-20).
Considering the deplorable state of catechesis in the United States in general, and most especially in the Diocese of Brooklyn, Fitzpatrick likely did not receive the proper tools necessary for him to know the purpose of his life, and how to use suffering to become closer to the Lord. One must query, then, the health and functionality of the Church body, in a time during which children need guidance more than ever, for they live in a society in which degraded souls are mired in confusion, and faced with an incessantly augmenting prevalence of deleterious philosophies that cause people to lead meaningless and self-destructive lives.
III.
Indeed, contemporary children live in a society in which life is not deemed to be a gift given to man by his creator, and one in which virtuous acts mean something, and that all human beings are geared towards a divine end. Rather than being taught that this life is a training ground for the eternal life, contemporary children are indoctrinated to believe the falsehood that they are mere “accidents.”
For into the positive law of the United States of America has been entered anti-life measures, thoroughly incompatible with natural law, that obliterate the inherent dignity of man by making licit the unnatural death of innocents: in the womb, by way of abortion, and when sick or seemingly disinterested in life, by way of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
Catholic moral philosophy begins with the principle that life is sacred and deserving of protection against harm. Contemporary secular humanists do not and the result is an intellectually incoherent and contradictory position. Hence when the misguided contemporary ideologues react, as they have, with lament over Daniel Fitzpatrick taking his own life, they would, in the same breath, pledge their support for, and attempt to defend logically, physician-assisted suicide, ultimately unable to realize the innate fallacies in their guiding principles and the subsequent development of a disordered values system.
Supporters of physician-assisted suicide—a practice the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith declares is “equally as wrong as murder”—are ultimately unable to grasp the grotesquely offensive behavior of a California woman who late last monthplanned a two-day euphemistically-named “farewell party” for family and friends before legally ingesting a coconut milkshake mixed with morphine, pentobarbital, and chloral hydrate as her family watched her die. The End of Life Option Act, which was made law last year and went into effect this June, gives California the horrid distinction of being the fourth state in which physician-assisted suicide is blatantly legal, and thus encouraged openly.
Any child who lives in a country in which suicide is legal and encouraged in any circumstance is taught that life is an accident and a choice; and that to halt the continuance of that life is permissible morally. The detrimental implication is that young people come to believe that reverence to God is unnecessary, for every man individually himself retains a will as powerful, or even more powerful, than is the will of God. If the first principle is that the will of the individual is supreme, then one is able to defend seemingly the subsequent argument that destruction of life is morally permissible when in accord with the will of an individual. When one holds a disordered premise or first principle, the logical result is a disordered conclusion.
In a world that so heinously devalues life, the Catholic Church’s call for a culture of life is more necessary than ever for the healthy cultivation of the souls of young people.
IV.
For the Church, when a member of the community dies, those who remain have a duty:
The death of a member of the community (or the anniversary of a death, or the seventh or thirtieth day after death) is an event that should lead beyond the perspectives of “this world” and should draw the faithful into the true perspective of faith in the risen Christ (CCC 1687).
The death of Daniel Fitzpatrick must bring Catholics—those who were intimately part of Fitzpatrick’s Catholic community as well as those of the larger Catholic community—to “the true perspective of faith,” which one could argue in this case might incorporate the realization that the children of the Catholic community need moral and intellectual guidance now, perhaps more than ever, and that every member of the Church body must rise out of his torpor to impart dutifully that knowledge.
Prior to the recession of Fitzpatrick’s remains to St. Peter’s Cemetery in Staten Island, the Ordo exsequiarum instructs that Fitzpatrick were to be given his “farewell” (original emphasis), which the Church instructs will be for him “his final ‘commendation to God’ by the Church” (CCC 1690). Fitzpatrick’s juvenile remains will subsequently return to the earth whence it came, for to Adam the Lord said: “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19).
For those who remain, they must do their part to save souls, for there should be nary a single child who leaves this earth in such a fashion as did Daniel Fitzpatrick. Perhaps one will never know for certain precisely what led Fitzpatrick to commit the act, but one thing is for sure: If he were given the tools to know the truth and the encouragement to live it by the whole of his Catholic community, he would have been able to reject the ways of the world; and in the midst of his suffering, no matter from what, or as result of what and by whom, he would have been able to lean on his Lord, his Mother, and his saints—for they would have loved him unconditionally.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Boo!

“[O]ften men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. […]By the proclamation of the Gospel… [the Church] gives [non-Christians]the dispositions necessary for baptism, snatches them from the slavery of error and of idols and incorporates them in Christ…” -Lumen gentium, 16-17.

In the United States, the 1960s marked the beginning of a breakdown in sexual mores and a rise in family disruption, joined with a culture of dissent as many tried to rationalize deviations from traditional morality. We witnessed a massive social experiment linked to genuine progress for which the Church was not prepared — discrimination against African-Americans and women was coming to an end, and Catholics were ever-increasingly undergoing assimilation into contemporary culture. As a result, Catholics began placing their spiritual lives in one compartment and their daily activities in the secular arena in another, commencing to treat their Catholic faith as an entirely private matter, open to a “pick-and-choose” approach to doctrine. Many theologians, religious educators and clergy succumbed to the same inducement. So it was hard for the doctrinal teaching of Vatican II to be heard; what did get through was often not the true council, but a “spirit” of Vatican II.