Lust, Esto Vir and Franco

Of all the sins, Saint Thomas says (II-II.153.5) that lust perverts the reason the most, its intensity – meant to bond together a man and a woman in holy matrimony, so they will persevere through the purgatory that is raising children and putting up with each other’s faults – when misused leads to grave disorders, jealousies, tensions, loneliness, lack of fulfilment, self-absorption and quite literally, in-sanity and some degree of dis-integration. Please do peruse Paula Adamick’s recent take on this topic, prompted by an old documentary, which seems well worth perusing itself.

And, as providence would have it, just recently Hugh Hefner’s memorabilia went up for sale. This sad old man – who died in 2017, spending his last pathetic days in even worse personal degradation than he did his first – is an image of what human beings should not do with the time they have and the gifts they have been given. We know not his personal fate – and we may hope that he somehow repented at the end – but that stuff, at least the pornographic relics, should just be burned, along with all the evil and degradation he brought into the world.

We should strive, rather to be men, like Saint Andrew, whose name in Greek, Andreas, means man, or virile, all that ‘masculine’ entails, including the capacity to control one’s sexual impulses, and treat women with the dignity they deserve, seeing them with as much purity as our fallen nature, healed and elevated by grace, may allow. Esto vir, as Monsignor Escriva wrote. Be a man, echoing the exhortation given to Joshua by God. Yes, there is concupiscence, all those disordered movements of our passions contrary to reason, but there is also that echo of original justice, that primordial inner harmony by which we might see ‘woman’ with the same awe and wonder and innocence that Adam did, before the Fall.

Our very society depends upon such. For as John Paul II warned, as the family goes, so goes society.

And a final note on a comment made by a reader on the apparent ‘hagiography’ published here of Francesco Franco. I don’t think Paula Adamick’s article made him out to be a saint, but he was a faithful Catholic, and not a war criminal. A civil war is a brutal war, and Spain’s particularly so, with thousands of Catholic laity, priests and nuns violated, tortured and murdered; it quite literally was a fight to the death, and if Franco had to use brutal methods, well, desperate times… I would not condone intrinsic evil, and hope he avoided that, but the thin red line is fine indeed in war.

Imagine if he had lost, the outcome of the subsequent world war may have been quite different, and not in a good way; as bad as Yalta was, we should be thankful that Communism did not gain a grip on Western Europe as well as Eastern. There are many small and large mercies in God’s good providence, even if at first they do not seem to be so.