Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sex, drugs and Catholicism

So, it looks like 50 Shades of Grey has made quite a stir across that strange landscape known as Catholic apologetics, and more specifically the Catholic blogosphere.  This is somewhat funny to me.  Why?  Well, here's the thing.  I once posted this.  I noticed that the Catholic world of apologetics had no problem cheering all the worst elements of the sex, drugs and even abortion culture - as long as there isn't actual abortions or sex.

So John Stewart, Andy Warhol, Roger Ebert, and any number of champions of the post-Christian secular Left also receive much praise and adoration from multiple sources in modern Catholic circles.  In addition, you have that ages old tendency that I've found Catholics live up to quite nicely.  In college, it was always assumed that if you wanted to learn about that God and Jesus stuff, it was the Protestants you wanted to hang with.  If you wanted to get wild and party, then you went Catholic.  Most Catholics I knew growing up - most, mind you - lived up to that.

Since I've been Catholic, I've noticed little to change that stereotype.  Copious amounts of cussing, F-bombs, dirty jokes, vulgar humor, drinking, smoking, even advocating for drugs are all what one can find in abundance throughout the Catholic world in America.  And you don't even have to go to a bar or party to find it.  The Sanctuary or the Church can be just the place.

I know, I know.  There's nothing wrong with cussing per se. Though the Bible does seem to prefer restraint of speech, we don't want to go puritanical legalism, and we recognize that language is a fluid thing, something Catholic advocates of speech in a manner that would make George Carlin blush are often quick to point out.  After all, Shakespeare!  Chaucer!  Even St. Paul and Jesus!  Why people in the Middle Ages said shit!  They cussed.  Sex and bathroom humor!

As one who fought against Evangelical obsessions with such things, arguing that a glass of beer or even an odd cuss word is not the end of the world, I've met my match as a Catholic.  I attended a Knights of Columbus training for the Lenten Fish Fry Fridays in the parish's school cafeteria, and was able to hear a litany of vulgarities and sex jokes and cussing the likes of which I've not heard since being in a high school locker room during track practice.

So here's the thing.  I call it 'dry-porn'.  That is, no Catholic actually condones online pornography, or sleeping with your secretary, or actually doing the things they joke about.  They just joke about it, and wallow in and enjoy the culture that produces it.  They mock those who have problems with it.  Until, you guessed it, something actually goes the next step and there is real snorting of cocaine or real penetration involved.  And then it's Katy bar the door.

Which once more illustrates that weird, strange world of Catholic living that one sees in so many places across the Catholic culture.  That idea that we can accept the premise of the latest, hippest.  We just must reject the logical conclusions. We can so mock and deride something like puritanism that we becomes cheerleaders for the opposite extreme, imagining that this is the clear and obvious solution.  Instead of fleeing from the near occasion of sin, we can slide up right next to it and cheer it on, yucking it up along the way.

So when some Catholics were bothered a few years ago about pictures that came about from a worldwide Youth celebration in Europe, showing teens sleeping together in their undies in tents far removed from adults, those expressing concern were lambasted (puritans!), since, you know, there was no actual penetration involved.

But now, that it's gone the next logical level, Catholics everywhere are now weighing in.  You see, one time years ago, I was warned about my preaching.  While doing a guest stint in northern Kentucky, I mentioned that it isn't a sin to drink alcohol.  In moderation of course.  A fellow who was a mentor told me, "Dave, those folks in Kentucky might be brewing their moonshine, but they don't want to hear it's OK."

Same here.  Something about much of the modern Catholic culture seems to love the sex, drugs and rock n' roll era and everything that comes with it.  They just don't want the actual porn and penetration and snorting that goes with the next step.  And for my money, they are no better than what was being said about those Kentuckian evangelicals when it came to alcohol.   Long and short, they were being accused of hypocrisy in the highest degree.

And furthermore, and this is just MHO, I find it hard to believe that one can be authentically pro-life in an age of AIDS and still take lightly, or even indulge in, the whole sex and drugs culture that to my mind is directly related to the pandemic that has killed more than Hitler or Stalin in their worst of days.  But that's for another post.

Bonus point: Commenter in one of the above links points to Medieval practices to suggest 50 Shades isn't all that bad!  I love it when bad arguments are turned back on those who love to use them without realizing how bad they are.


  1. Shea, for someone who claims to have once been a Protestant, you seem remarkably dense at understanding just what protestants are about. (and yes, some of it may have arisen from a desire to take God more seriously than Catholics, arguing against that should be fun to watch)

    *glances at some of the links*

    I'm just going to leave this link here...

    So. You and yours get to play Yedo yet?

  2. Wait, hold on, I'm reading Simcha's post now and this?

    And then we realized that, in a way, we were talking about the same thing. It's porn. Watching a gruesome execution and watching sexual torture are not exactly parallel, of course, but they are certainly related. They both harm the people producing it, the people engaged in it, the people watching it, and everyone the viewer meets afterward.

    Yeah, the big difference? The execution ACTUALLY HAPPENED! The movie is just some people pretending. That other video, there was someone who was an ACTUAL PERSON (not an actor) actually DYING by horrific means in front of the camera. If nobody watches the movie, sequels won't be made. If nobody watches the video... the guy doesn't exactly become less dead.

    Just... that's a horribly written paragraph and the fits Simcha will pitch over other people's phrasing? She should have known better.

  3. Haven't done Yedo yet. We're doing about one game a month, and still working that one out. As for Mark, you can't argue with success. I just counted the speaking engagements he's posted since January 10. There have been 8. At 2000.00 for one talk per engagement, that's 16000 in less than two months at the least. Assume a couple were for charity, that's still approx. 6000.00 per month minimum. Not counting his income as editor, author, contributor, and his quarterly tin cup rattles. I'm guessing he's not so lower middle class as one might define lower middle class, even in Seattle. And this is all since he turned to a new approach to his blogs and style, so there you go. Fuss all we will, our complaints are not as loud as the cheers of George and Thomas and friends.

  4. Haven't done Yedo yet. We're doing about one game a month, and still working that one out.

    LoL, still working it out? One of the things I love about it is that it's pretty darn simple. Once you get a few basics in your head, everything you need to know is on the board or game accessories. XD


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