Celebrating a Diversity of Vice

Another summer weekend, another ‘gay pride’ parade, this one with our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, replete with his whole family, along with the representatives of the other two subsidiary levels of government, Kathleen Wynne, provincial premiere, and John Tory, mayor of Toronto, all marching for what Trudeau claims are Canada’s values of ‘inclusivity’ and ‘tolerance’.  We welcome anyone, so it goes, one and all, regardless..Well, except for a few ‘intolerants’, who seem to be tolerated less and less with each passing day.

We must be blunt in this, and clarify exactly what all these folk are marching for, which, at the end of the day, is the exaltation and acceptance of that ancient practice known from its geographical provenance as ‘sodomy’. If it were all about men preferring the company of men, or women, women, well, I might join them. But it is not.  Rather, it is about the unnatural eroticization of such natural same-sex friendships, particularly of the male-male variety.

To clarify further:  Justin’s father, the late Pierre Elliot, famously, or infamously, declared that the State has no place in the bedrooms of the nation, a statement that has a lot of truth. Whatever people get up to in the privacy of their homes is, by and large, up to them and their conscience, for which we will all have to answer to God. What social conservatives, such as myself, take issue with is the enforced normalization of such deviant behaviour in the law of the land, making sodomy, to take the most egregious example, the basis for ‘marriage’, teaching it as good and noble to our children in schools, being forced to celebrate it and making any criticism, even discussion, of its consequences not only beyond the pale of polite conversation, but even illegal.  That ill-defined term of homophobia can now land one a heavy fine, ostracization, even, soon, jail time.  In a curious irony, the State has indeed taken great interest in what is ‘done in the bedroom’, and brought it out into full rigour of legally enforced normalcy.

Of course, even the most secular of left-leaning ‘liberals’ (I will always put that term in scare quotes, as liberals they truly are not) draw the line at certain sexual proclivities.  They frown at sexual activity with ‘children’, and the need for consensuality is clamoured far and wide. But they have trouble identifying what is a ‘child’, and apparently have no worries about violating the latent period in young children, bombarding them with precocious explicit sexual information.  And even a brief perusal of the news is filled with legal cases throughout the land wrangling over what exactly constitutes ‘consensual’ sexual activity, Bill Cosby being a rather recent case in point.

A bit of clarity on this issue, ironically, may be gathered from a snippet of a documentary I heard the other day from the BBC, concerning the morality of masturbation in Islamic teaching.  Apparently, it is wrong to self-stimulate, or ‘phlap‘ as the onomatopoeic euphemism has it (at least I think that’s what I heard, on radio), during the time of fasting, as in Ramadan. This reminds me of something someone mentioned to me a few months ago, that there are apparently Catholic young people who give up masturbation during Lent. The presumption is that outside such penitential seasons it is all fine and dandy, like indulging in dark chocolate.

In terms of the objective gravity of sins, sodomy is worse than masturbation, but they of the same ilk, for they both violate the intrinsic purpose and nature of sex, unitive and procreative.  Most of the world sees sex in purely consquentialist and functional terms, and even the aforementioned documentary bemoaned the fact that most of those who railed against masturbation were not ‘scientific experts’, for it is all about ‘sexual health’ and such. The DSM-V, the current manual for psychiatrists, was quoted with awe and reverence, even referred to as a ‘bible’.  Although of some value, I suppose, the DSM has done a great deal of damage.  They of course see nothing wrong with masturbation, and, in its ideological bias, has now listed homosexuality, once seen a psychological disorder, as perfectly normal.

Besides the lack of scientific evidence for such a conclusion, the medical world should keep firmly in mind that the human soul is not something that can be reduced to science, nor to the quantitative-inductive method.

The current ‘wisdom’, enshrined in Trudeau’s Canadian ‘values’, follows the DSM, that there there is nothing wrong, indeed much that is right, with homosexual behaviour, so long as the participants are ‘of age’ and ‘consent’. And this moral neutrality is even more widely accepted for masturbation, viewed as the harmless emission of bodily fluid accompanied by a deeply pleasurable phsyio-psychological sensation.

Yet, and yet. Are such people who engage in these activities ‘happy’?  Psychiatrists, that new cadre of highly-compensated and reverenced high priests, don’t tend to use such philosophical terms, and Aristotelian eudaimonia is largely unknown to their scientific worldview.  They prefer such descriptives as ‘healthy’, which is rather ambiguous. Healthy, how?

Sure enough, masturbation does not cause a ‘disease’, but is it ‘healthy’?  Health professionals, almost to a man (and woman) say that it is, but also admit that too much even of this apparently ‘good’ thing is bad, and there is lots of evidence, even in the purely scientific realm prescinding from faith, that masturbation, and, while we’re at it, homosexuality, are compulsive, addictive behaviours that lead to psychological disintegration, an inability to engage in ‘real’ sex, a profound and disturbing self-absorption, and an objectification of the other, whether in one’s mind and imagination, in masturbation, or in one’s various ‘partners’, in homoeroticism. The Catechism calls masturbation an “intrinsically and gravely disordered action” and describes homosexual relations as “acts of grave depravity”.  Sure enough, one’s subjective guilt is ultimately between the soul and God, and may vary widely, but the actions themselves still objectively wrong and harmful  (cf., #2352, 2357). We owe each other the truth far more than nice, warm complaisant feelings, group hugs and, yes, ‘pride’ parades.

Rather, strong language, one might think, and not something you might hear of a Sunday morning in a garden-variety homily, for various reasons, good and bad.  But this teaching only makes sense, for both actions are by their nature disengaged from the unitive and procreative purposes written into the very nature of the sexual act by God Himself.  These two ends or purposes are joined together by a ‘nexus indissolubils’, an indissoluble bond, as Bd. Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae declared. Outside of the inherent constraints of marriage and children, pregnancies, the needs of one’s spouse, asceticism and such, there is no natural control over the sexual act, and once sex is removed from its natural place, all hell quite literally breaks loose.

The same principle holds for contraception, which looks like a conjugal act, but in fact, as Bd. Paul VI pointed out, is not, for once the act is deliberately closed to what Humane Vitae calls the procreative dimension (more accurately, significatio procreandi the procreative ‘signification’), what we have is an act of mutual self-pleasure, using the other in a way that is intrinsically disordered (intrinsice inhonestum).

This principle is nearly impossible to get across to the modern mindset, which sees the world through, as mentioned, a purely private and functionalist prism:  Anything goes, as long as it does not ‘harm’ anyone, and is in accord with current notions of ‘health’.

Yet even if they ignore the moral-philosophical arguments, the world cannot long ignore the a posteriori, or consequential, effects of unnatural behaviour.  I will not rehearse all the rather eye-opening effects of homosexuality, detailed with objective scientific rigour by Robert Reilly in his Making Gay Okay, but even within that hidden world of private of sexual sins, we now have legions of men who are inveterate masturbators, addicted and immersed in a virtual, and very un-real, world of pornographic imagery, their wills enslaved, incapable not only of sex with a woman (it is usually men, but does include women), but even of being attracted to real women.

And we wonder why there are fewer and fewer marriages, even fewer children, as our culture dies a gradual death, a slide towards the abyss that is becoming ever-more precipitous. The only way to control the great and unwieldy power that is the sexual drive is to place it under the sway of reason and grace by the virtue of chastity, either through a life of continence (that is, abstaining from all sexual activity) or through monogamous conjugal life, fidelity to one’s spouse within a sexual communion open to life. I recall one Canadian novel I was forced to read in school sometime, wherein the protagonist, in describing in a rather oblique way the first time he was ‘with’ his wife that ‘it’ was ‘proudly contained’, unlike his times of solitary self-stimulation in the outhouse (how does one write of these things chastely?).  Whether wittingly or not, the author made the point that sex must be so contained, controlled, directed for the end God intended, for unleashed and unrestrained, it destroys the individual, the family and society.

We are witnessing the effects of such destruction all around us, yet the world celebrates, with a grinning Trudeau, waving his rainbow flag, replete even with rainbow socks.  At this rate, there is no way that anything we recognize as ‘Canada’ will have a 200th birthday, and I am beginning to have doubts about its 151st.

But there is always hope, and see my comments about the four young men ordained last Saturday in the diocese where I live.  God has His ways, and the recent lectio in the Office of Readings has David beating Goliath against insuperable odds.  The battles is the Lord’s, as the once and future king declared, and we but have to stand up, and estote viri, ‘be the men’ God wants, with stout hearts, and, yes, our loins girded.