Deliverance from Pornography

Here we go on to the next phase of the “redemption of desire” pop-spirituality ride.  Matt McGuiness urges us to take “a second look at porn,” so that we can get in touch with the fact that illicit sexual desire is really a misguided attempt at finding happiness.  Did I miss something?  Isn’t that what Catholics have always believed?  Isn’t all sin the choice of an apparent but false good over what is truly good in an attempt to be happy?

Of course, what separates the search for real happiness from that of its counterfeit is a lie.  In his opening, McGuiness treats the lie of sodomy rather glibly with a raunchy pop-reference.  Unfortunately, those things that St. Paul says must not even be named among you (Eph 5:3) are now part of the cultural fabric, so they have to be dealt with. But if it is true that a lie told over and over again gains plausibility just by the retelling, then our casual familiarity with depravity gives the perverse and diabolical an air of normality.  The devil must be given his due:  now we give porn a second look because it teaches us how happy we want to be.  The problem with pornography according to McGuiness: it does not go far enough.  I think McGuiness has taken the bait.

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The World, The Flesh and the Devil

Throughout the West debate we have talked much about the contributions of the world (Hefner) and the flesh (concupiscence) to our difficulties in dealing with issues of purity, but we seem to have overlooked a very important player in all this:  Big Red.  Funny that.

Actually not everyone has overlooked it.  Animadversions (content warning) has posted an excellent observation on Fr. Brian Van Hove’s blog that could possibly change the way many look at this question.

Though West’s desire to carry out what Hefner began presumes far better intentions than Hefner deserves, West is not totally off the mark if he means to overcome prudishness and unworthy shame.  But the danger lies in stripping us of the inhibitions and sublimations that occasionally protect us from harm.  Insofar as he and Hefner recommend to us more “exposure” both are misguided.  Between the beautiful and the demonic there is no clinically neutral middle.  Our sexuality is anything but “harmless.”

John Paul the Great and Hugh Hefner the Magnificent

puzzled-manOkay, I am glad that a Catholic apologist gets some major exposure in the mainstream media, and I want to repeat again that I believe that those who are popularizing the Theology of the Body are good people and well intentioned.  Nevertheless,  I take exception to the presentation of Christopher West in this latest interview, precisely for the reasons given in my last post on the subject.

One commenter on that post asserted that the “naked without shame” doctrine contained in the popular catechesis of TOB is really only a “marketing hook,” and that very few, if any, believe that TOB is being proposed as a means of reclaiming original innocence, as suggested by the article I linked to by Father Brian Mullady.

In yesterday’s interview posted on the ABC News website Christopher West compares favorably Pope John Paul II and Hugh Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy Magazine:

“I actually see very profound historical connections between Hugh Hefner and John Paul II,” said West.

And it’s not just the red slippers?

“No, it’s not just the red slippers.” Each man in his own way, West insisted, rescued sex from prudish Victorian morality.

On Hugh Hefner: ‘I Understand His Ache’

“I love Hugh Hefner,” said West. “I really do. Why? Because I think I understand his ache. I think I understand his longing because I feel it myself. There is this yearning, this ache, this longing we all have for love, for union, for intimacy.” Continue reading