Monday, October 17, 2016

First Comes Love .... Not Anymore!

Do kids still sing this "playground song" to embarrass a boy and a girl that give signs of liking each other?
Name and name are sitting in a tree
K - I - S - S - I - N - G
First comes love, then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in a baby carriage.
Whether or not children are still singing about that once commonly expected sequence of attraction between the sexes, hardly anyone  believes that love progresses that way any more.

What would be a modern revision?  The way we live "relationships" now is so complicated that it wouldn't scan as a playground song. To eliminate just some of the myriad possible permutations, my off-the-cuff revision here assumes that the couple who is kissing in the tree consists of a male and a female.

Not Just K-I-S-S-I-N-G but G-O-I-N-G A-L-L T-H-E W-A-Y

Say that Dick and Jane are sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Next, and at a very early age, comes intimacy, usually with contraception, which is often provided by the fond parent or the school. Kids are going to do it anyway, they think, so let's help Dick and Jane have "safe" sex. Although that term strictly means sex without venereal disease, most young people think it means sex without babies.  The safety of the minds, emotions, bodies and souls of the couple is not considered by those doting enablers of extramarital intimacy.

Another thing "everybody knows" is that it would be foolish to not try a potential marriage partner out before marriage, ignoring the fact that studies show that couples who marry without having sex beforehand stay married and enjoy their marital intimacy much more often than those who don't wait. I still remember reading a Playboy magazine survey during the 1970s whose results showed that couples who practiced traditional sexual morality were more satisfied. The editors were shocked.

Love, Only Maybe

Sometimes after a long time, ever so cautiously, Love might be mentioned between the couple, but only if the person who says it first is sure it won't come across as needy and scare the other person away.  Then only if Dick and Jane both agree that the word applies to what they are doing, then Love is allowed to be mentioned.

I always thought this Steven Sondheim song sung by Judy Collins is about what happened when the woman revealed she is in love, then realizes she had miscalculated, and the man doesn't want what she wants.  In circuses, they send in the clowns to distract the audience when there has been a terrible accident. In the story in the song, the woman calls for the clowns to divert attention from her mistake and the resulting shame and dismay.

Isn't it significant that when couples make what used to be called love, they are now seen as merely making "it." 

Marriage, Only Sometimes

For our hypothetical Dick and Jane, marriage is out of the question, because they are too young. But with more-mature couples, more often than not, it's the woman who wants to marry. Men are often quite happy to keep enjoying all the pleasures of modern intimacy and cohabitation without commitment.

One other cultural reference. We don't talk about the cruelty and pain involved when people use each other for sex, but sometimes reality even slips into the movies. In "Jerry Maquire," the athlete character Rod, who Cuba Gooding played, confronted Tom Cruise's character, his sports agent, Jerry, because he was using Dorothy, the Renee Zellwegger character, for sex. And Jerry finally had to admit it and agree it was wrong.
A Real Man Wouldn't Hijack the Pootie

Often the man (and less often the woman) knows that the partner is not someone he or she would ever marry, or simply never wants to be married, but keeps the "relationship" going as long the Marriage ultimatum can be avoided.

Couples who aren't married are often referred to as"significant others." But when the partners do not want to commit to marriage, doesn't that really make them "insignificant others"?

Only if both of them desire marriage, and each of them finally decides that he or she can't reasonably expect to find a more perfect partner, and they both agree that the other person is worthy, a proposal may be made and accepted, and Marriage may occur. But since Marriage is optional, totally up to the whim of the couple, and it costs 10s of thousands of dollars to stage the kind of royal spectacle couples have come to expect, for those and many other reasons, a wedding may never actually take place.

Another result of premarital intimacy is loss of romantic feelings. I remember reading several years back that there was a fad for engaged couples to abstain from intimacy for a time before their wedding day, not from any religious considerations, but just so they could regain lost passion so they could better enjoy their honeymoon. People who work at resorts frequented by honeymooners tell stories of bored couples fighting with each other, since there is nothing new for them to look forward so after the big wedding shebang is over. The honeymoon was over before it began.

One unspoken reality is that "free love"  inhibits joy.  When intimacy is experienced outside of love and marriage, love is not supposed be expressed. When commitment is not there, trust is not possible. All these combined with fear of being found wanting and rejected can inhibit the couple, especially the woman. Women and men are cheated out of the pure, uninhibited joy of being able to give love - without fear - to a partner you know loves you and who has promised to be with you 'til death you do part.

For those who don't believe in the permanence of marriage, there is always the fall back position; if the marriage doesn't "work out," even after the extensive pre-marriage period of trying-the-other-person-out, Dick and Jane can always divorce, as everybody know.

And Pity Poor Baby

Baby might arrive at any stage in today's conditional love sequence: the widespread acceptance of intimacy outside of marriage is based on an assumption that contraception won't fail. This assumption ignores the statistics that show that even when contraception is perfectly practiced, inside or outside of marriage, whether  there is love or no love, babies do result: Planned Parenthood statistics show that up to six out of every hundred women who faithfully take the pill conceive a child, six out of 100, every year.  A baby usually won't be welcomed unless the couple has moved to the Marriage stage. When a woman's motherly heart prompts her to not kill her child, she often finds she has to face losing the father and the wrath of her otherwise tolerant family.

It used to be that the conception of a baby was seen as a blessed event between a married couple, as the fruit of their love. Nowadays, only if the Baby is wanted by both, will it be allowed to live long enough to be wheeled around in a baby carriage. Close to a million abortions are performed every year in the United States alone.

It is too easy to go down to the same Planned Parenthood clinic that dispenses contraception to have an inconvenient baby killed. Their door is always open for Jane if she has the cash.  Planned Parenthood knows the statistics very well, and their business model depends on services that abort the babies who predictably are conceived from failures of the contraceptives they prescribe.

A New X-Rated Playground Song

Dick and Jane Sitting in a Tree
First Comes Sex Ed
Then the Pill
And an Abortion Appointment is Only a Phone Call Away

Love is Conditional
Marriage is Optional
Divorce is Expected
And We've All Lost Far More than We Know

How to Fix It?

The solution is too complex to fully cover here, but we have to start by shouting the truth.  "Sexual freedom" is not freedom and it's not even satisfying. It is not healthy for the bodies,  emotions, and souls of those who practice it. Marriage is not an automatic guarantee of bliss. But a return to traditional Catholic morality would eliminate most if not all of the heartbreak and other evils I've described.

A couple that is chaste before and after marriage, which means to be celibate while single and faithful while married, is going to live a happier and healthier life. One great benefit is that a person who is pure before and during a marriage cannot catch a sexually transmitted disease, except through a freak occurrence such as getting tainted blood transfusion.

When the pill is not used, the woman is spared being poisoned by hormones for years of her life. When female sterilization and male vasectomies are not used, the couple's bodies are not mutilated. When barrier methods are not used, no physical or chemical obstacles are put up between the man and woman in the act of marital intimacy.

Intimacy between a man and woman is far more satisfying when it is experienced within a sacramental marriage.

Of greatest importance is the fact that no child will be unwanted or aborted if men and women come to see again that the creation of new life is a desirable part of marital happiness. Even if an inconvenient and even difficult pregnancy occurs, no thought of abortion can be seriously entertained when the couple realizes that God wills each child into existence.

Throw out the Playboy philosophy and tell the world. Free love is not love and it comes with a great price. Those who are able to see the wisdom of rising above the culture and of living by the rules our loving Father ordained for our happiness find that they gain far more than they could ever imagine.

Do You Ever Wonder Why Prominent Catholics Openly Defy Church Doctrine?

Do you ever wonder why many prominent Catholics, such as Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and Tim Kaine, claim to be Catholic and still support certain immoral actions that contradict Church doctrine? If you read this column "Moral Theology: Software, Moral Formatting and Living in Sin," which was published in this week's Valley Catholic (from the Diocese of San Jose), it might help you better understand.  The author, Reverend Ron Rolheiser, is a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, president of the Oblate School of Theology and a popular writer who has had a column running in the Valley Catholic, and I assume other diocesan papers, for years.[1]

Fr. Ron, or just Ron, as he refers to himself at his website, is one of the open-shirt-collar-wearing-no-clerical-collar-I'm-just-one-of-you-guys moral theologians (Jesuit Fr. James Bretzke[2] is another) who I've run across who seem to me to be expert at making clear doctrinal matters obscure. The writings of theologians like them are so nuanced that they make it seem reasonable for Pelosi/Biden/Kaine-type-Catholics to think they can disagree with traditional Catholic teachings about what is sinful and still remain convinced they are mainstream Catholic believers.
In this column, Fr. Rolheiser used a weak analogy when he compared classical Roman Catholic moral theology to "a highly specialized software ... that was honed, nuanced, and upgraded through centuries."  The analogy is weak because software determines how applications behave.  If Roman Catholic moral theology is software, then shouldn't it program how Catholics behave?

Fr. Rolheiser believes that the classical software has to change. He writes that he believes in the principles of classical moral theology, but we can no longer use its way of naming sin.  Why? Because much of our culture and many of our churches no longer understand that language, and, so, oh my goodness, many "good" people who are living in sin will be offended if we tell them that the way they are living is inherently disordered.

What is a modern "moral" theologian to do?  Teach people so they do understand the language of the Church's moral teachings? Defend Church teachings as inspired by God and existing for our benefit? No! Change Catholic theology! "We need a new software, a new way of morally formatting things."

That strikes me funny. I would like to find out what any of the many programmers I worked with during my career as a technical writer would think of the idea of a software program formatting such a thing  as morality. If you don't reject Fr. Rolheiser's analogy out of hand, his logic falls on its face because redefining a value changes how you treat it. If your moral theology software no longer defines a value as sinful or immoral, the program would no longer logically need to include any routines that would define how to change the no-longer-sinful value. 

Fr. Rolheiser describes a few different individuals (such as a housekeeper has been married many times and, like the woman at the well, living with a man who is not her husband) and a few different types of people who objectively are living in sin in other ways as having "life-giving" relationships, as good people who "bring oxygen into a room." 

So instead of having the kindness to tell sinners that if they die in sin they are in serious danger of being condemned to hell for eternity and if they go to Communion with unconfessed and unrepented mortal sin they are committing sacrilege and, according to St. Paul, are making themselves guilty of the death of Christ[3], he seems to want the Church tell sinners that they are just fine the way they are and not challenge them to change sinful behavior. That way they won't be offended.

I believe that Jesus would tell him there are worse things for a sinner to endure than being offended.

Fr. Rolheiser doesn't seem to consider that a more merciful way would be to not affirm people in their sinful ways, but to tell them the way to heaven, and to lead them to repentance, conversion, penance, and to make amends for their sins. Jesus did not leave the woman at the well satisfied with how life-giving her lifestyle was. 

And that, boys and girls, is one example of why Pelosi/Biden/Kaine-Catholics are confused and are convinced they are justified in contradicting Church teachings, and why they despise those of us who don't agree--because we are backward. They were taught this kind of modern "moral" theology in Catholic schools, in classes led by modern "moral" theologians like Fr. Rolheiser or by teachers who were trained by teachers like him.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.  
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ.

The following quote from Saint John Paul II's encyclical on moral theology seems to apply to theologians like Fr. Rolheiser.

" Certain currents of modern thought ... exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. . . [T]he traditional doctrine ... is rejected; certain of the Church's moral teachings are found simply unacceptable; and the Magisterium itself is considered capable of intervening in matters of morality only in order to `exhort consciences' and to `propose values,' in the light of which each individual will independently make his or her decisions and life choices." 

[1] I found out from his Wikipedia page that Fr. Rolheiser has "a regular column in the Catholic Herald which is featured in approximately 60 newspapers in five different countries." Fr. Rolheiser is a mainstream, modern moral theologian, who has a doctorate from the University of Louvain.

[2] James T. Bretzke, S.J., is currently professor of moral theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  I met Fr. Bretzke when I was a student of his while he was teaching at the University of San Francisco and moonlighting as an instructor at the San Jose Diocese's Institute for Leadership in Ministry. In his book A Morally Complex World: Engaging Contemporary Moral Theology and in his courses, Fr. Bretzke teaches complex methods for evaluating the morality of actions - while Catholics who follow traditional teachings would call the same actions "sins" without Bretzke's methods. Putting individual conscience above Church teachings identifies Fr. Bretzke with a breed of theologians who believe the Vatican II Council licensed them to redefine what the Church teaches and to claim that traditional Catholic morality is wrong. People who think the way Fr. Bretzke does never bother to explain why they stay in a Church they believe was so misguided for so long, or how they were granted the exalted wisdom that made them able to understand what is moral better  than the great saints that came before them. I've written in several blog posts and elsewhere against Fr. Bretzke's teachings, for example, this article from San Francisco Faith newspaper: No Recipe for Morality Says Bay Area Jesuit.  Fr. Bretzke writes often for America magazine, including this recent article, "In Good Conscience" about Amoris Laetitia.

[3] Corinthians 11:27-32 is left out of the modern lectionary as a "difficult" passage, so Catholics are no longer taught these hard truths, that whoever received the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is "guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. According to St. Paul, many of those who do so sicken and die.

Corinthians 11:
27 Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man prove himself; and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. 30 Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you: and many sleep. 31 But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.