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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Pope's philosophy about Sex

Mark Steyn Writes about the Pope's philosophies that many liberals didn't agree with, especially in regards to sexuality. He sums up the Pope's position thusly:

What should be the Christian response? To accept that we're merely the captives of our appetites, like a dog in heat? Or to ask us to rise to the rank God gave us - 'a little lower than the angels' but above 'the beasts of the field'? In Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), the Pope wrote: 'Sexuality too is depersonalised and exploited: it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts. Thus the original import of human sexuality is distorted and falsified, and the two meanings, unitive and procreative, inherent in the very nature of the conjugal act, are artificially separated.' Had the Pope signed on to condom distribution in Africa, he would have done nothing to reduce the spread of Aids, but he would have done a lot to advance the further artificial separation of sex, in Africa and beyond. Indeed, if you look at the New York Times's list of complaints against the Pope - 'Among liberal Catholics, he was criticised for his strong opposition to abortion, homosexuality and contraception' - they all boil down to what he called sex as self-assertion. Thoughtful atheists ought to be able to recognise that, whatever one's tastes in these areas, the Pope was on to something - that abortion et al, in separating the 'two meanings' of sex and leaving us free to indulge in one while ignoring the other, have severed us almost entirely and possibly irreparably from traditional impulses, such as societal survival. John Paul II championed the 'splendour of truth' not because he was rigid and inflexible, but because he understood the alternative was a dead end in every sense.
I have studied the theology of several different religions and I don't think I have seen this issue described exactly this way before. It is very clear, very simple, and on the surface at least, very compelling. I am going to have to think on this more, but it is certainly an interesting way to view sexuality.


Anonymous GUYK said...

I just have problems accepting rules from those who don't play the game!

Condums in Africa may not have stemmed the flow of aids but it might well have stemmed the population explosion there that is the driving cause of poverty and famine.

I never kid myself. The churches stand on contraceptives and other birth control has more to do with insuring there are plenty of new members of the church to exploit then anything to do with morality. Just take a look where the new church members are coming from. The catholic population reportedly has doubled in the past 20 odd years and the majority of new catholics are in the countries where the populations are exploding-except for of course India which has its own problems.

4/05/2005 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I don't believe that population explosion is the driving cause of poverty and famine in Africa.

Indeed I would place corrupt governments, wide spread epidemics, and poor infrastructure as the driving causes of poverty on that continent and in that order.

I am not Catholic, and certainly don't agree with them on many issues, contraceptives among them, but I find your cynicism about their motives to be more revealing of your nature than theirs.

4/06/2005 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous GUYK said...

Could be Justin. I am cynical of the Catholic church and all other religions as far as that goes. I lived a time in the Philipines and saw how the church helped keep those in the barios in poverty-it wasn't government or epidemics that required them to spend a significant percentage of their already meager income to support the church and various church festivals. Sure they willingly gave but the question was why did the church request?

Epidemics ususally are caused by bad sanitation which is nearly always prevalant in over populated poor societies. The green movement helped to feed the starving and kept them alive to have more children to starve during the next food crises. The Sahara desert by some reports is encroaching southward a few yards a year-the primary cause is overpopulation! There is simply not enough resouces to support the population. They cut what wood there is to cut on the Savanna lands and graze goats-a distructive animal which destroys vegetation. Yet they continue to breed with no thought to their future. Although most of these people are not catholic the church fights any effort at family planning,ie, birth control.

No doubt governments have done little to help the people. If anything the despots in these areas have taken a large percentage of funds donated to help the people and either used it for other purposes or banked it in safe out of country banks.

The Pope was a man of peace and I respected him for that. However, he was also a quasi socialist and was against American Capitalism. Why? Could it be because of the Americans' stand on birth control that except for immagration has brought population growth to a net zero? No new catholics to exploit.

And, catholics are not exploited? Tell that to the numerous boys who were abused by their priets who has bishops who protected them. Rather than remove a Cardinal who seemed to condone the abuse the Pope just brought him to the Vatican. The irony is that the same cardinal now is in position to vote for a new Pope.

4/06/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I certainly make no excuses for the abuse of children by Preists and even less for the institutional protection of these criminals.

However, while a serious failing, that is not particularly germane to this issue.

I know of no major famine in the 20th century that was caused by over-population or inability to produce sufficient crops. I believe it is well documented that Government failings played a signifigant part in all of them however.

If the extent of government evil was limited to stealing donated funds that would be a blessing to Africa. Continual theft of private property, bribery driven governance, and general unwillingness to have any sort of rule of law make private endeavors almost impossible and hence poverty the natural state.

Poor sanitation is nearly always prevalent in poor societies, that is true, it is more accute in high population density areas certainly. However, the population doesn't necessarily cause the poverty or the poor sanitation. Last time I checked Manhattan wasn't awash with raw sewage.

Additionally the two biggie diseases in Africa are Malaria and Aids, neither of which is closely linked to sanitation problems.

Desertification is a complex issue and cannot be simply tied to population.

4/06/2005 10:35:00 AM  

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