Thursday, February 07, 2013
Sex, sex, sex on my mind, the Catholic take on it of course
I was listening to Seize the Day this morning on the Catholic channel on Sirius. Guy Lloyd had Christopher West on talking about his new book, Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing. This reminded me that along with my pro-life activism, I need to go back to studying and writing about sexuality. I need to follow the sexual wars just like I follow the abortion wars. As Peter Kreeft says, if the stork brought babies, there would be no abortion. Abortion is a by-product of our culture's upside down understanding of human sexuality. Fix sex, you fix abortion. I am not speaking in an absolute way. Human beings are free creatures who have a longing for intimacy and touch. Sex is a powerful way of filling that need; we will always miss the mark with sex, we will always have sexual sin. It's neither the worst nor the most harmless of our failings. But because we'll always have babies conceived by folks who do not want them, we'll always have abortion. Perhaps if we can understand that the sexual revolution didn't give us the sexual freedom it promised, we can lessen the conceiving of children outside of marriage. The current popular wisdom is that birth control will do this, but that continues to be an abject failure at preventing both conception and abortion. As long as Planned Parenthood and their ilk teach our young folks that sexual pleasure is a basic human entitlement, "with or without a partner" as they so elegantly put it, we'll have babies conceived where they are not wanted.
Here's what Peter Kreeft says about the sexual revolution and dissent in the Catholic Church:
“Every single issue on which there is dissent in the Church today is about sex. Feminism, inclusive language, homosexuality, sexuality, contraception , abortion, fornication, divorce and remarriage -- all dissent is about sexual morality. Every argument that I have ever had with moral relativists has always come down to this issue in the last resort. But no society of moral relativists has ever survived. ... And the origin of moral relativism in our society is the sexual revolution.
“What is the answer to the sexual revolution? God has provided it just as He provides new insights and new creeds for every heresy in history. It is the Theology of the Body of John Paul the Great.
“Reading JPII's theology of the body today is like reading St Augustine in the 5th century or St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th… It is the big picture , the heavenly truth about sex.”
So, time for me to once again start studying the Theology of the Body (TOTB)
To begin the effort: some basic resources:
General Audiences, John Paul II's Theology of the Body - yes, there are books, but it looks like this EWTN site gives you the translated text of each audience as Blessed John Paul gave them. These talks were what eventually were collected and edited into what's now called his Theology of the Body.
Theology of the Body for Beginners: A Basic Introduction to Pope John Paul II's Sexual Revolution, Revised Edition - this is Christopher West's now-classic introduction to TOTB
Theology of the Body in Six Lessons, Taught at the Street Level - mixed media, I haven't tried it yet, from Fr. Samuel Medley, SOLT
Alice Von Hildebrand and Christopher West - Dawn Eden's was the first critique I heard of Christopher West's work, but when Alice Von Hildebrand got into the discussion it turned into a full-fledged debate. Some background on what West meant by comparing JP II to Hugh Hefner, and TOTB to the sexual revolution, and the discussion his Nightline appearance sparked.
Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing - Christopher West's most recent book, published after some time away from the public eye in what I presume was an analysis and response to the critiquing of his approach.
I once told people that I wanted to become a canonized saint who was named to be Patron Saint of Sex. So I have a heart for what Christopher West is doing and the edge of the razor from which he does it. My husband told me that people were misunderstanding what I meant, and asked me to stop saying I wanted to be patron saint of sex lest it cause scandal. I get it. I also get why I wanted to do it. I have a bunch of new ideas along that line, but I'm working out the kinks at the moment...