Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"The Talk"


I am going to become a priest. This is no secret, particularly for those who know me, and especially among those who don't. (pardon my dry humor) The vow of chastity which calls me to celibacy is something I have no problem with (not that I never struggle to follow it, but I support the concept wholeheartedly) and even am a staunch supporter of it. I see it as a unique way of freeing yourself for the sake of ministry, heeding the advice of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 to remain as he was (a "confirmed bachelor") and a noting of Christ's statement in Matthew 19 giving blessings to all who desired to make themselves unmarriable. For obvious reasons then, I will never have children, and will most certainly not be giving them the sex talk that fathers so love to give.

Here, then, is the sex talk that as a priest I might not otherwise give. Let's face it, when was the last time your pastor stood up for the homily and said something that had even the slightest thing to do with sex? If it was just last Sunday, ask how often he talks of things like this. If it is fairly frequently, find out how in sync he is with Rome's teachings. If you are still saying "my pastor's doing fine by this standard" I would like to buy your pastor dinner. If you are Catholic and think that I am being sexist by constantly referring to the pastor with male pronouns, you may want to confirm that you are in fact attending a Catholic parish.

There were two inspirations really for this. The big one, the one that really got me going this morning was a thing developed over the course of a UChicago scavenger hunt (evidently a very popular thing), a take on www.thefacebook.com, whose name I don't particularly care to type. Its title features a word that is, well, just not a good "out-loud" word. That and I don't want to give "hits" to that wretched site. It shows an overall lack of respect for human sexuality that I think is so desperately needed, particularly in Amercian society. This is one of those times when I think both Dems and Reps have it wrong. The Left wants to do too much, in teaching children how to put on condoms and beginning sex education at the tender age of 5 (Don't believe me? Here's proof). By "sex education", I don't just mean giving them the "birds and the bees" facts of life. I'm talking "this is how to use a condom" "touching can be fun" etc. That's a bit much for a five year old. The Right, on the other hand, just wants an "abstinence only" sort of thing which involves me saying "its in your own best interest to not have sex yet". Right. Like people aged 14-19 are really concerned about their own best interest when it comes to sex. As far as most guys are concerned, their own best interest is having sex.

Respect for the dignity of the individual has many aspects to it, not unlike any individual.[fanatical Jesuit mode]Part of it comes with social justice, when we recognize that a person who is poor is usually there not by their own doings, but because someone who is rich wants to stay that way. Part of it comes with implementing the "culture of life", when we come to cherish the mere fact that a person lives as an incredible gift from God, and that the dignity inherent in human life is something bigger than any single person, so that none of us should be able to end it at will. Part of it comes with seeing the beauty of our sexual aspect, of how this truly makes us in the image of God, because it gives us something that no inanimate object has: the ability to create. Even other animate objects have not nearly so much will or control over it as we do. Mating season comes, and they mate. We will an act of creation, deliberately, and out of love. Such a gift is not to be taken lightly, and yet it is made fun of all too often. [/fanatical Jesuit mode]

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it can only be done upon a sacred altar with an angelic choir singing Gregorian chant. There can be a lighter side to everything. Lord knows I enjoy the lighter side of it. But there comes a point when it is too much. The total irreverence exhibited by many crosses a major line. If you look in the news, Texas just passed a law saying that high school (and below) cheerleaders could no longer do suggestive moves in their routines. The million dollar question that some have started to ask: why did this take a legislative act? Why weren't the parents so disgusted by their daughters "grinding" and the like that they put a stop to it themselves? And even bigger: why, after condoning all of this suggestive action, are they shocked/surprised when they engage in what they frequently suggest off the field?

Of course, this can also be taken to the other extreme, where the human is completely defined by sexuality, a point of view expressed by Bishop John Shelby Spong when he said that the Catholic Church "de-sexed" Mary by making her a perpetual virgin. Sexuality is a part of our identity, and a key part, but having or not having sex is not what makes it. Proper use is what exalts this aspect of us, and Scripture is good enough to guide us in what is "proper use". If we use it improperly, it cheapens it, it says "this gift does not have sufficient value to be above doing (insert action here) with it". And just for good measure, since no book on Earth that I have ever read comes with the ability to correctly and without error interpret itself (although the footnotes to the NAB were a good try, but the jury is still out on the "without error" part) we have the magesterium there to help us correctly discern the meanings (cf Jn 17:17, Mt. 10:40, Lk. 10:16, Jn. 14:17, et al).

And with that, I think I shall dismount the soapbox for the moment.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloram+
"I'm shocked, SHOCKED to find that gambling is going on in here!"
-Louis to Rick, Casablanca


At 10:53 PM, Blogger fj said...

"and will most certainly not be giving them the sex talk that fathers so love to give."

ExceptI have heard you give it to two of our catechumens already!

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