Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sex is not a Four-Letter Word

Persons who feel that gloominess is next to Godliness are advised to stop reading NOW.

For the benefit of others, who can't seem to get the day started without a little gloom, I present these excerpts from oldies but goodies:

(From John Tenniel (1858), via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"...Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow:—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore....
From "The Raven," Edgar Allan Poe
(Via Project Gutenberg)

"...Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity....
From "The Second Coming," William Butler Yeats
(Via Poem of the Week)

Sexuality and Being Human

Sexuality is part of being human. It's designed into us, and essentially good. But like anything else involving human beings, we can either misuse it: or understand God's gift and recognize that "sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure." (Genesis 1:27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2362)

Some folks may feel that God made a horrible mistake by making us male and female, and wish that sex would go away. Others don't seem to realize that we're rational creatures, able to use our bodies: not be ruled by them.

What the Church says about human sexuality isn't in line with today's intellectual fashions: but it's nowhere near either of those crazy extremes, either. (Catechism, 2331-2391)

Virtue, Malignant and Otherwise

I've run into individuals, Catholic and otherwise, who seem convinced that virtue means being against a laundry list of actions or opinions.

True, some actions are wrong no matter what. But mostly the Church tells us what we're supposed to be for, like social justice. (Catechism, 1928-1942)

There's a reason for that. Jesus said that the law was, essentially: 'Love God, love your neighbor.' I'm also supposed to love myself. (Matthew 22:36-40)

Focusing on a few "thou shalt nots" is a good way to get attention, and can pass for righteousness-lite. I suspect that's partly why I heard so much malignant virtue from radio preachers in my youth: and that's another topic. (December 9, 2010; June 27, 2012)

I'd rather be known for what I support, than what I'm against: Goethe's "Spirit that Denies" isn't a good role model, and that's yet another topic.
"I am the Spirit that Denies!
And justly so: for all things, from the Void
Called forth, deserve to be destroyed:
'Twere better, then, were naught created...."
Mephistopheles, from Goethe's "Faust," translated by Bayard Taylor
(Via Project Gutenberg)

Love and Driving Drunk

Loving myself doesn't mean doing whatever I like. Pleasure is okay, and being happy is not a sin. But I should think about long-term consequences. (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25; Catechism, 33, 1718, 1765)

The "friends don't let friends drive drunk" slogan has become a bit of a cliche, but it's still good advice. Love isn't approval: or turning a blind eye to self-destructive actions.

Loving my children doesn't mean giving them whatever they want, or letting them do as they like. I must respect them, show them what they must learn, and how they can make their own decisions. (Catechism, 2201-2203, 2221-2231)

I figure that kids are more likely to take rational self-denial seriously if they also experience respect and forgiveness: and those are still more topics.

Related posts:

Gloom is an option, of course: but I don't recommend it.

(Detail of an engraving by Gustave Doré; an illustration for "The Divine Comedy, 'Inferno,' " Dante Alighieri. Caption: Canto I., lines 1, 2.; Trans. Henry Francis Cary. Used w/o permission.)
"In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray."

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.