Did you know that . . .

Quote

Did you know that the Jordan River Valley is actually the deepest valley on earth? In Christ’s Baptism, creation opens at her depths to receive her Creator; the heavenly Bridegroom “espouses” the earth to himself, filling (“impregnating”) her waters with the power to “bring forth sons to a new and immortal life.”

Christopher West pornifies the Baptism of Our Lord.

God help us.

From a Cor Thoughts email via The Cor Project.

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McGuiness Channels Christopher West

Complete with U2 reference.

Kevin Tierney provides a great summary critique of Matt McGuiness‘ attempt to look give porn a second look.

I guess I am really slow on the take, but a “second look” at porn strikes me a rather sordid metaphor.

Anyway, as I pointed out in my commentary on McGuiness’ first installment, this commentary on the education of desire at best says nothing more than what we were all taught in the Catechism, that sin is the result of deception.  We think we will find happiness in things that appear to be good but really are not.

Anything involving ecstasy and communion in particular way points to the transcendent experience of communion with God.  Even the most depraved behavior is some way is a perversion of something built in by God.  Even so, I think we are pushing the limits of theologizing if we think that pornography as pornography supplies us with any new information.  In fact, the Playboy culture barely gives a nod to personal communion.  Hugh Hefner has been the great reducer of women to the status of nameless paper dolls. The consumer response is not complicated. Really.

In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Virtue of Purity

Matt McGuiness has posted his second installment of “A Second Look at Porn.”  He was criticized a great deal for part one, by Dawn Eden, Kevin Obrien, Kevin Tierney, and yours truly.  Dawn Eden has already posted her comments on the new piece on her blog at Patheos:  “Confession is Not a Waste of Time.”  An excellent contribution.

I am in agreement with most of what McGuiness says.  However, in the interests of making an argument for something important, he does what apologists too often do, which is to minimize those things which are not the thing he wants to emphasize.  McGuiness wants to emphasize the education of desire and an appreciation for what he calls “elementary experience.”  In the process, however, he caricatures elements of the ascetical life like prayer, penance and the sacraments.

If the multinational corporations have a “wonderful plan” for our lives (and they do), sometimes church people offer us “solutions” that alienate us from ourselves no less than the spinning wheel of production and consumption. Some within the Church will tell us to ignore the infinite need that makes our hearts restless and just plunge into Catholic practices and pious devotions. Never mind the meaning, “Just do it.” Here’s a sample checklist: start going to daily Mass, pray the rosary, make a holy hour, try this novena, frequent confession more often, do some twelve step program, go to a Catholic conference, be virtuous. You get the picture.

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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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Vindicated

Apparently the sexual revolution was not actually a reaction against prudish Christian morality from the Victorian Age, but rather a rebellion against prudish pagan morals of the Lower Palaeolithic Age.  It started with an argument over whether fig leaves were sufficient covering.  The prudes insisted that they start killing animals and using their pelts for clothing, and the poor unhugged libertines reacted by organizing sit ins in front of animal holes and whittling naked people out of fire wood.

(For those whose sense of humor is on life-support, this is a joke.  Keep the comments jovial and friendly or stay in your cave.)

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