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Jul. 20 at 11:09am
Just now I was listening for a second time to the talk Jules gave yesterday morning in Steubenville on von Hildebrand's distinction between the primary "meaning of marriage", i.e. love, and the primary "end of marriage", i.e. children. (I can't think of anything I'd rather do than listen to my beloved talk about marriage.)
Specifically, he tries to show that not only does this distinction not (as some critics charge) undercut the Church's teaching on the inseparability of sex and pro-creation, it deepens and enriches our grasp of that teaching, by drawing out and emphasizing the personal structure of conjugal relations.
Spouses don't use each other to produce children. God doesn't use …continue reading
Jun. 19, 2012, at 4:58pm
Again, as indicated in the previous post Population Problems (even in the Islamic World), sometimes I come away from reading “the news” with the vague impression that the western world is overwhelmed with problems relating to drugs, sex, a pleasure-centered lifestyle, and a loss of religious faith while the Islamic world is filled with individuals ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Allah and to rid the world of these profligate western excesses. However, as in the previous discussion, such impressions do not tell the underlying story.
David Goldman, in his recent book How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying Too), offers disturbing evidence that “[t]he underside of …continue reading
Oct. 4, 2009, at 5:07pm
In an article in the latest issue of First Things, What Does Woman Want?, Mary Eberstadt brilliantly exposes the link between the rising tide of pornography (and the social pressure among secularists to treat it as a harmless, if vaguely embarrassing, pastime) and unhappy, sexless marriages.
Yet the explanation from imposed gender neutrality does not by itself go far enough. Something else lurks under the rocks picked up by the fashionable writing about marriage these days—something that crawls away from the light even as it squirms just under the surface of much of the new confessionalism.
“Don’t eat too many snacks, or you’ll ruin your dinner.” Every woman issuing the new …
Jul. 2, 2009, at 1:32pm
I found linked today at the Dawn Patrol this treasury of free audios by Bishop Fulton Sheen. I listened to two of them. “Marriage Problems” and “Sex as a Mystery.” Both are very good. I take them as representing the best of pre-John Paul II Catholic thinking on sex and marriage. They contain much wisdom. But, it seems to me, they lack a depth dimension present in the Theology of the Body and in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s philosophy of love and marriage. They are not the “new thinking about mankind” that, as I said in my last post, we need to meet the crisis of our day.
I would love to know what others think.
Jul. 2, 2009, at 10:45am
This morning I came across this 1964 quote of Albert Einstein, whom Time Magazine named “Man of the [20th] Century.” It comes from an article about nuclear war prevention:
The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our ways of thinking. Thus we are drifting toward a catastrophe beyond comparison. We shall require a substantially new way of thinking about mankind to survive.
It strikes me that the same thing could be said about other lately-unleashed catastrophic powers. I am thinking specifically of the unleashing of sex that has been happening across the course of the last 100 years. The other night I watched part of an excellent PBS program on the history of …continue reading
Jun. 20, 2009, at 8:41pmSee below for the 4th part of the comments elicited by Fr Geiger's latest on the West debate.
Jun. 20, 2009, at 8:40pmSee below for the 3rd part of the comments elicited by Fr Geiger's latest on the West debate.
Jun. 20, 2009, at 8:39pmSee below for the 2nd part of the comments elicited by Fr Geiger's latest on the West debate.
Jun. 20, 2009, at 8:38pm
Yesterday a friend sent me Fr. Angelo Geiger’s latest guest post at the Dawn Patrol on the controversy surrounding Christopher West. I have less sympathy with it than I did with his first piece. I think he is unfair to West and his defenders.
For instance, in his first paragraph he identifies part of the debate as being over whether CW’s approach is “out of step with Catholic tradition.” I find this an unhelpfully ambiguous phrase. It seems clearly meant to indicate unsoundness. But there are ways of being “out of step” with the tradition that are thoroughly legitimate. Wasn’t Joan of Arc’s taking on the role of a soldier rather out of keeping with tradition? Couldn’t Dietrich von …
Jun. 7, 2009, at 2:09am
I believe that “prudishness” can have quite different meanings and refer to different phenomena:
1. It may consist in a kind of exaggerated or overly great sense of shame and pudor, such as the “insuperable or insurmountable feelings of shame” of a virgin or nun not to undress for a gynecological exam or surgery even at grave risk of her health or life which “horror ingens” some traditional moralists regarded as valid reason for refusing life-saving operations or necessary medical exams. This does not have to imply per se any negative attitude towards sex but is an exaggerated and in this sense “prudish” sense of its intimacy or sacredness and disproportionate fear of the danger of …continue reading
Jun. 4, 2009, at 7:59pmSee below for the 2nd part of the comments elicited by Christopher West: A von Hildebrandian’s Perspective.
Jun. 4, 2009, at 7:59pm
As professor of philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I have been teaching a course on the nature of love, using Von Hildebrand, Wojtyla, Pieper, and Kierkegaard (among others) for nearly three decades. I have known of Christopher West’s work more indirectly through the decidedly good influences his works have had on my children. However, this past Wednesday, June 3, I got the chance to finally meet Mr. West. It was my privilege to put on a joint presentation with him on purity and sexuality sponsored by the Personalist Project. Nearly two hundred were in attendance, including a great many young people, most I’m sure drawn by the prospect of hearing Christopher—who is a bit …continue reading
Jun. 4, 2009, at 3:20pm
I agree whole-heartedly with the substance of Michael Healy’s evaluation of Christopher West’s presentation last night. But I’d like to press one point of (perhaps) contention a bit.
In the course of his talk, Christopher made this very true remark:
If someone realizes he is in bondage to alcohol, he shouldn’t go where people are drinking. But he has no right to project his own bondage onto our freedom (to condemn us as imprudent because we go into a bar.) Similarly, if a person’s entire idea of sex is skewed by lust, he will have a tendency to project his own distorted attitude onto others. He will interpret any discussion of sex as salacious in itself. In such cases, his accusations …continue reading