Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jeepers, You Mean I Offended People?

A Facebook friend has shared with me Matt McGuiness' reaction to what must be a flood of complaints about his article at CNA, which I discuss here and here.

First, predictably, he says that I am misreading him.  Obviously.  That will be the charge that keeps getting repeated if this type of attack on the Church continues.

Secondly, he is shocked (shocked!) that people are so up in arms about his endorsement of sin-as-an-avenue-to-Christ.  Speaking as someone who offends people all the time, let me say that nothing is more offensive than being offensive and acting innocent about it.  We used to call that "being a tease" - well not exactly that, but something like it.

And let me just say that my rancor here is so personal not because I dislike McGuiness' argument, but because I know the point of it.  And anyone with a nose can smell it.


Meanwhile, my friend John Manos has sent me a link to a great article he wrote last fall on the Bellarmine Forum.  In it, he copies from a 1920 Catechism a little bit about Chastity.  Tell me if this traditional teaching of the Catholic Church does or does not sound like the Westian goo McGuiness is feeding us at a CNA.

St. Augustine declares that the preservation of chastity is the greatest victory achieved by the Christian, and requires the hardest struggle. The Fathers of the Church call it a martyrdom; a blood less martyrdom, it is true, but not on that account the less sublime. For the martyr’s agony is short, and admits him immediately to celestial glory; whereas the safe-guarding of chastity demands a prolonged, a lifelong conflict.
Self-control has been enlarged upon under the head of the means of attaining perfection in general. We may particularize the necessity of bridling the tongue and observing custody of the eyes. St. Augustine says that tattlers and busy-bodies are in great danger of losing their purity. Death comes up into the soul through the window of the eyes (Jer. ix. 21). The lion is said to be tamed by blindfolding him ; so we can subdue our evil proclivities by strict custody of the eyes. Fasting is another aid to the preservation of purity; the flesh is tamed, just as animals are, by depriving them of food. ” Be not drunk with wine,” says the Apostle, “wherein is luxury” (Eph. v. 18). “Feasting fosters fleshly lusts,” says St. Ambrose, ” and wine heats the blood and in flames the passions of young men.” Prayer and the sacraments are means of grace without which it is impossible to conquer one’s self.
“It is a mistake,” says St. John Chrysostom, “to imagine that one can in one’s own strength vanquish concupiscence and preserve purity; by God’s mercy alone can the passions of nature be controlled.” No man can otherwise be continent, unless God give it him (Wisd. viii. 21). Through confession and communion the will is strengthened and man is enabled to avoid sin. The Adorable Sacrament of the Altar is the corn of the elect, and a wine springing forth virgins (Zach. ix. 17).

And where is all this leading?

Well, Anonymous will tell you plainly, in a comment he placed on my first post on this subject.  By the way, he must be addressing this to the authors of the 1920 Catechism as well as to St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and the other Fathers of the Church they quote ...

You guys make me sick. This is exactly why so many Catholics leave the Catholic Church, because Catholics like you are so scared of your own humanity that you prefer the Manichean, Pelagian, Jansenist Church she herself condemned over and over again. Rip on Chris West all you want, but go do yourselves a favor and actually read Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body (the whole thing) and face it. It's alot more scandalous to people like you then you think. And read the scathing critiques of Pope Benedict on this kind of insecure, freedomless, moralistic Christianity that you guys are proposing to the world. And please read the Gospels about those guys called the's interesting that they react to Jesus the same exact way you are reacting now. Why? Because He scandalizes those "men of religion" over and over and over again with His freedom.

There you have it, friends. 

Avoiding pornography is "Manichean, Pelagian, Jansenist" and Pharisaical. Even Pope Benedict XVI thinks so and has apparently somewhere said so, and we all missed it.

And it's my fault so many people are leaving the Church. 

And apparently the Church gets the credit for so many people masturbating in front of computer screens, now that the Church has embraced the "Freedom" of Christ.

Some freedom.


Scott W. said...

There is a saying I'm fond of that goes, "I don't have to drink the whole gallon of milk to know it's spoiled when one whiff will do."

When it comes to West, I don't even need a whiff. All have to do is read one of his defenders.

I'll close with something that men need to hear and I think in their hearts are longing to hear: pornography is evil. It desecrates marital bonds, offends against chastity, and is a menace to public morals. If you see it, flee it. Don't make some Jungian bargain with it, declare it an enemy. And remember Our Lord's instruction to the women caught in adultery: "Go and sin no more."

Anonymous said...

I've had about enough of this hipster Catholicism. It's almost as tiresome as hipster conservatism. Thank you for admonishing these wayward brothers.

jvc said...

Yes, exactly.

Please, Westians, stop with the "What, me?!" cri de coeur.

Kevin O'Brien said...

AMEN, SCOTT W! Well said. And you other two, as well.

Anonymous said...

The person you quoted sounds just like an addict. "Anonymous" condemns everyone but himself to justify his addiction.

Dr. Eric