13 December 2007

Something to Depress Everybody!

When was the last time you heard a Priest preach on the sins of the flesh? On Sex? A lot of you will not like the quote which follows ("if you don't want to know the score, look away now"), some because of the message, some because of the language in which it is couched, but the more I reflect, the more apposite I find it.

It comes from a collection of essays by Piers Paul Read, a Catholic writer whose Catholicism has, as he explains in a different essay, brought him little favour.

He reflects on the erotic and concludes:

"It is therefore with some sorrow that I have come to accept that the Church is right and novelists are wrong. Art portrays the pleasures of this life, not the next. The whole drift of revealed truth suggests a divine distaste for the erotic. It even seems likely that the aboriginal calamity of original sin was sexual in kind, for why else should Adam and Eve have covered their bodies with fig-leaves? Copulation is undoubtedly man's most animal act. Even as he eats or defecates his mind can be elsewhere, but in copulation body and soul are concentrated in his loins. Orgasm is the surrogate ecstasy peddled by the Devil - an easy pastiche of that mystical state achieved by the most holy saints and ascetics.

This truth about God is hard to accept. We tend to forget that we are made in his image and likeness, not God in ours, and consequently convince ourselves that something so powerful and pleasant must accord to his will. Alas, it is not so, and it would be presumptuous to criticise our Creator for the way things have turned out. 'Is it for you to question me about my children,' asks Yahweh in Isaiah, 'and to dictate to me what my hands should do?' Only in marriage, when sexual intercourse between husband and wife may lead to the propagation of more souls, does God smile on copulation."

I wonder sometimes about NFP: is it about natural family planning, or about sex without the risk of children? I wonder about a Church where priests can talk about the sexual urge (as opposed to the procreational urge) as "holy". I wonder what they teach at seminaries.

I put forward, hesitantly, the view that the Church has lost a lot more since Vatican II than proper celebration of the Liturgy, and that She has to recover a sense of what men and women are for, not just what individual men and women should believe.


WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

The Theology of the Body is the beginning of the rebuilding. In fact it's a huge step forward.

NFP can be misused but the Art of Natural Family Planning does not primarily talk about how to avoid pregnancy-but how the roles and relationship of husband and wife work.
I think there is a search for what men and women are for-especially from those of us my age who are sick of the 70s.

God bless

Rita said...

Good article, but I'm not sure I agree with your last paragraph. Yes, the Church has become somewhat emasculated since Vatican II, but I do not think that its teaching on sexuality has got worse since the late 1960s.

Pre VII, so many Catholic husbands had never seen their wives naked. So many Catholic wives felt it was their duty to perform for their husbands, even if they didn't want to, even if their husbands were far from sober. So many priests told women to do just this. Coupled with the last vestiges of Jansenism and a certain loathing of self and body; these were not the good old days.

As WNSN says, it is JPII's Theology of the Body that holds the key to the way forward. I for one am optimistic for the future on this.

JARay said...

Although not exactly a sermon on "sex" per se, I did hear that "dreaded" Bishop Williamson of the SSPX preaching almost exactly a year ago when he came to my local SSPX church to confer Confirmation in January of this year (2007). His words have stuck in my mind and I have even quoted them to others, as I do now.
He said.
"If God doesn't chastise this world for its sinfulness, and soon, then He's going to have to start apologising to Sodom and Gomorrah for what He did to them"
I have seen references to next year as being the year when some of the "prophecies" attributed to Our Lady come to fruition. It has been said that the sign promised at Garabandal will happen next year and also what was promised at Akita. Our Lady has been reported as saying that God's anger is brimming over and only the prayers of the Faithful have held Him back.
I have the feeling that nothing will intervene and spoil the World Youth Congress....But!
At the same time, I can't but feel that God must bring this generation to its knees. Actually, I pray that He will! As I pray that Our Lady's promise of the conversion of Russia will be accomplished soon and, also, I pray that the Muslims will be converted!