You’ve heard it a million times, repeated as some sort of secular gospel: the Catholic Church is simply obsessed with sex.
This obsession with the Church’s supposed obsession makes me scratch my head, for two reasons.
First of all, because I went to mass every Sunday of my life for my first 18 years, and I don’t recall ever hearing a homily about sex. Hmmmm….
And secondly, as a political and social observer (and just a regular old citizen!) for the past couple of decades, I do believe it’s the “other side” who are obsessed with sex. In fact, it seems to be all they think about and want to talk about. And they want the rest of us to think about it and talk about it, too.
From raunchier and more explicit TV sex to ubiquitous movie sex to infinite internet porn sex to teen and preteen sex and taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood talking to our kids about sex, sex, sex, and non-stop discussions about the goodness of homosexual sex, and sex in the city and sex with housewives and sex in the fast food commercials (my gosh, can’t they just advertise the burger?) and full-on sex in music and sex on videos and simulated sex as dancing, and every variation of sex in the hook-up culture, girls and boys gone wild about sex, sex, sex, sex, sex! And even on my blog, we have even had commenters proclaim, quite seriously, that they could not live without sex!
And then we have the Catholic Church, plodding along through human history, saying the same thing about sex that she always has.
The Church, after all, has taught these truths for 2,000 years — along with all the other moral truths she still holds today. The moral law doesn’t change, the virtues don’t change, and chastity is simply one of the virtues. It happens to be the one virtue that a sex-obsessed culture does not appreciate, but a virtue nonetheless. Always has been, always will be. Just as marriage is a holy institution established by God. Always has been, always will be. Sex is a privilege of marriage, for the good of the spouses, of the children produced, of the family, and of society. Nothing new here, move along….
But wait, there is something new here, and the secular left can’t move along: They want a new sexual paradigm, where anything goes (between “consenting adults”, of course!) and there are no moral judgements. The campaign is on, full-swing, to change the very nature, meaning, and use of human sexuality. They want to redefine marriage and family to mean things they have never meant before, and they don’t want anyone to tell them no. They are so close to their goal that they can taste it, but at least for now, they remain frustrated. Something is keeping them from genital carte blanche. The one thing standing in their way?
The Church. That’s all. No armies, nothing. Just the Church, speaking the same old truths she has spoken for twenty centuries and will speak for twenty centuries more, or until no one is left to hear her. The Catholic Church is the one moral authority who lovingly, carefully, firmly proclaims, whether anyone is listening or not, that sex has a meaning and purpose that cannot be discarded without violating our human dignity.
Despite the utterly predictable, clearly unwavering (and sometimes too-quietly stated) teachings of the Church, her opponents are often violently emotional in their quest to change her mind or silence her voice or run her out of existence. Though they would like to claim an oppressor/victim model here, it’s really more like a classic parent/teen showdown. “Give me my way and let me do what I want or I will scream at you and call you obscene names and tell you you are power hungry, irrelevant, out-of-touch, full of sin yourself, and just plain mean!”
And the Church, as a good Mother does, looks on her children with love and concern, even sadness, but stays steadfast, consistent and confident. The rules of life don’t change. Truth does not change. Love does not change.
As the sex-obsessed voices get louder and angrier, the Church has tried to raise her voice above the din. She’s begun to speak a little more boldly, a little more clearly, stating her case again, in new ways, for a very confused generation. Because responding with love and truth to the prevailing sins of each age is pretty much the Church’s job description, and it’s what we can expect her to do from now till… well, eternity.
And that’s not obsessive, just faithful.
© 2013. Leila Miller. All Rights Reserved.