Saturday, June 28, 2014

Let's Talk about Sex. And Talk and Talk and Talk.

On Facebook today, folks were hawking tickets to the Theology of the Body Conference in Philadelphia, which I guarantee you has almost nothing to do with John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

If you're tempted to go to this thing (and I do mean "tempted"), save your money and read the Real Theology of Body, which is all about marriage and which is not the sort of theology that would inspire a charismatic type conference.  Then ask someone who went to the conference the following questions.  Ask them if at the conference ...

  • Was marriage ever mentioned?
  • Were the sacraments ever mentioned?
  • Were babies ever mentioned?

... or did the presenters spend their time talking about sex, nudity, the paschal candle symbolizing a giant penis, imagining Mary naked, the heroism of Hugh Hefner, the desire for pornography being a disguised desire for God, and how only cowards practice custody of the eyes?


Back in 1982, long before I became Catholic, and while I was still hoping, above all else, to have lots of sex with lots of different women, I was given a sizable role in a play at a local Catholic College.  We had cast parties after every rehearsal, and I was astonished at how these Catholic girls kept shocking me with their sex talk.  They were like sailors, only they would laugh a lot and describe sex acts in detail - though with enough incongruities for me to realize that these girls had probably never had sex, despite their bravado.  I was also confused in that, despite their bragging and their foul mouths, they seemed to be nothing but "teases".  They talked a good game, but they were certainly not open to any kind of advances.

"Oh, they're all virgins," one of my fellow male cast members conjectured, when we discussed this privately.  (He was neither Catholic nor from the college.)  "You'll never get anywhere with them," he added.

"But if they're virgins," I countered, "Why do they spend all their time talking about sex?"

"Well, if they ever get laid," he replied, "they'll shut up."


So it's time to shut up.

JP2's Theology of the Body is not about sex.  It's about marriage, it's about love, it's even about consecrated virginity.

But marriage, love and virginity don't sell.  Titillation sells.  Especially to a certain market that gets a thrill out of talking about sex and is flattered in thinking that sex and religion are the same thing.  

Which they're not.

But the problem is virtue is not sexy.  Virtue doesn't sell.  And neither, it seems, does deep and reverent theology.

1 comment:

The Catholic Science Geek said...

My goodness, this brought back awful memories of one of the pre-Cana courses I attended before I got married. It was more heresy than anything else! Upon describing the awful experience to a priest friend of mine, he told me he does not require couples to attend this class because of the emphasis on sex and how we "feel" about sex than sex and marriage as God intended. I can only imagine what the conference must be like if it is as you describe it! (I speak more of my experience and how it should have been at my blog here: