This is off topic, Sister Lorraine, but I wanted to offer a few comments to all of you who may be cradle Catholics. I was raised as a non-baptized atheist in a family of similar stripe. I was baptized when I was nineteen after I was married, meaning that all of my teenage years and dating were done before my baptism.So many of the comments I read from Catholics about concupiscence, custody of the eyes, etc truly amaze me. I can tell you that my unbaptized family members were able to conduct themselves with more sexual restraint than most Catholics that I listen to. I cannot understand how we can say that grace has so little effect on a person. The way so many Catholics talk sounds just like Protestants--grace does nothing, it just is a nice covering. Most of my family, without grace, were capable of more than what has been discussed on most of these blogs. I agree with Christopher--I think Catholics sell Redemption short. We should be able to be much more virtuous than any one in my family or anyone else who is not a Christian.
We believe in grace and its power to transform us. We just don't believe grace entitles us to let our gaze remain on a voluptuous woman until we see her with "mature purity" and sit in admiration of the beauty of her femininity as Fr. Thomas Loya advises.
Notice I say "entitles" and not "enables".
"But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more." (Luke 12:48)
Yes, dcs, we have been given SO MUCH--the very life of God within us--and we should be shining lights in the darkness of this culture. I don't see that being the case. I see very little difference between my atheist relatives and my Catholic family and friends--even the homeschool families that I know. Those children are fornicating and drinking at about the same rate as everyone else. I think we are doing something very wrong. In the early Church the pagans were converted often by the lives the Christians were leading. They must have stood out in the neighborhood as being very different. Don't think we can say the same today.
Copying what I posted at the link:Dawn, see page 58. The word may not appear in a search because it is actually misspelled as "“chastitizes." I corrected the spelling in quoting it.Sister, I believe that Miss Eden is coining a neologism here, not saying that West "chastises" the Pope. West (Miss Eden states) is saying that the Pope's exhortation only applies to those who are already chaste, thus the Pope's words are "chastisized." That is why, I think, the word is in quotes.I would also point out that this is page 44 of her thesis (it is page 58 of the PDF).
Let's stop throwing around the Protestant card. :)Lest I say that the position of Lauretta, West, and others sounds like a take on the Calvinist notion of "irresistable grace." This time it is irresistable purity. Simple knowledge of TOB and gazing at someone for long enough, and you will, by that very nature, not only will you overcome temptation, you will cease having temptation.Of course that's a rather simplistic understanding, but I would wager yours is to Lauretta, as a convert, not a cradle Catholic.Or does the fact that I might have "Protestant baggage" prevent me from seeing the truth? Which is it? We're goin down the rabbithole here friend, and nothing can get solved.
I never heard or read West or Fr. Loya say that we must look upon a voluptous woman and keep looking...regardless of whether or not it causes us to sin and we must keep looking until we arrive at mature purity.I HAVE read and heard them say that the desire in our hearts should be, the goal should be to utilize the grace in the sacraments and Theology of The Body to grow in mature purity. We are called to grow in holiness. I would say that extends to this.To say that a man can not look upon a voluptous woman and never have a response above that of the desire to use or to have sinful or lustful desires really sadens me. That diminishes the power of the cross. That diminishes the power of grace to perfect nature which is a teaching of the Catholic Church so to say that our nature can not be perfected by grace would then be a heresy would it not?
@Mrs. King,How does a man know when he has achieved "mature purity"? Can he discern this within himself or must he put it to the test? The reason I ask is that we are told in Scripture "you shall not tempt the Lord your God" and Dr. von Hildebrand correctly points out that this is the sin of presumption -- and presumption is a sin against the Holy Ghost!Dr. Delaney correctly points out that even if one can look upon a woman and not lust, those same images are burned into our memories and can tempt us later at times when we are weak.
About Lauretta's earlier comment, it is often true that Catholics don't give a very good example. It seems that overall Catholics are getting abortions, etc., at roughly the same rate as other groups.That's why Pope John Paul spoke about the new evangelization. It's not just for those who have never heard about Christ, but for those formerly Catholic and Christian who have given up living by the faith.
Mrs King:How is this for you?"Alright Look at her!! That's right, look at her! Look at her butt, her breasts, but don't stop there. Look at every aspect of her magnificent femininity! Take her in completely and say "How many are your works O Lord, in wisdom you have made them all!" (Psalm 103)"If someone counseled a guy that the way to truly know my sister was to "that's right, look at her butt, look at her breasts", or my new girlfriend for that manner, yes, we would have some problems. I would tell Fr. Loya he is lucky he is a priest, and get the lady the heck out of there. And that's not me over-reacting.Sister, ditto in regards to Catholics not being effective witnesses and betraying their faith. I don't think what DCS, wade, or myself do comes anywhere near that. Shouldn't even be mentioned in the same category. West's critics here are not Manichean, we aren't Jansenist, we aren't Puritan, and we aren't prudes.We can have an agreeable discussion without imputing into people the worst of motives and beliefs.
A few miscellaneous comments. I don't know if people are familiar with Fr. Loya's background but it is very pertinent to what he says about looking. I would like to share what I remember. He is an artist and studied art before he became a priest. During this study, he developed the ability to look at the nudes in his class and paint them without having "issues". After his training as an artist, he began to study for the priesthood. He was in Rome while the Holy Father was giving his TOB addresses. He was so impressed because he heard the POPE discussing what he had learned in art school--that it is possible to look at a woman's body without lusting. That is why he says to go ahead and look--because he did that as an artist and learned how to look at a woman without desiring to use her so he knows it can be done.I was thinking about Dr. Delaney's comments the other day concerning images being stored in the brain. I realized that my husband didn't have to worry any more. We are getting older so our memories are getting to the point that we don't remember the things that happened a few days ago but those things we did when we were young are quite vivid. My husband, I'm sure, has enough memories from his youth of the xxx movies that he watched to give satan plenty to use against him when he wants! I'm sure that the number of people who don't have ANY images in their minds is quite miniscule. That is why it is always necessary to strive to purify one's heart so that those images lose their power.
Kevin, you seem to think my comment is implying you have the worst of motives? How is that?I was only commenting on the state of Catholics in general. That doesn't mean there aren't many fervent Catholics, there are, and I'm sure you're one of them. But look at the statistics. In most dioceses barely 20% of Catholics go to Mass. We certainly need evangelization among our own Catholic population. That's all I was saying.
Sister Lorraine, thank you for your comments. I would like to add that often even those who think they are living a Catholic life are not. We often have a distorted idea of what our faith teaches and we suffer the consequences unfortunately. Even the catechized often need re-evangelizing for that reason.
Yes, Lauretta, we can always learn more about our faith and grow in it. I include myself in that category too!
Lauretta, you say: "I would like to add that often even those who think they are living a Catholic life are not. We often have a distorted idea of what our faith teaches and we suffer the consequences unfortunately." By "we", do you mean people like Kevin, dcs, and myself who "sell redemption short" because we "turn away our gaze" at times instead of "remaining focused" and training ourselves to look upon her as a person until we have eventually obtained "mature purity"?
No, Wade, I didn't mean specifically the three of you but I will tell you who I do include. I include all of those who call themselves orthodox, or traditional, or obedient to the Pope or whatever. The "liberals" just say that they don't agree with the Church on whatever the issue might be and do what they want. Many in the category I am referring to, however, swear that they have the right position on Church teaching on a particular subject and won't be swayed out of their position, no matter what. I have had people disagree with the new Catechism--well, that's not what "I" was taught or that's not what Tradition says, etc. Traditional Mass people think they have a corner on understanding exactly what the Church believes, as well as many homeschoolers. Often what I have seen happen, however, is that these people, myself included at times, misunderstand what the Church teaches because they are relying on the education that they received when they were children, which was simplistic, they think something was part of Tradition when it may have merely been a predominant train of thought of people in the Church at a certain time or they deny the Magisterial nature of the teaching. That happens frequently with TOB. They don't think Wednesday audiences have any weight--especially when they disagree with something TOB says.I have had to change my position on many, many things concerning the faith because my understanding was faulty. I try to be more compliant to anything that a Pope teaches on faith and morals when he speaks in a public capacity, whether it be verbally or on paper. I don't know when the Holy Spirit is leading a Pope to explain a fuller, deeper understanding of something so I try to be open to my opinions being tweaked when faced with Papal teaching. With an individual bishop or theologian or liturgist, however, I will be more hesitant to change my position. Hope that clarifies what I said.
"Often what I have seen happen, however, is that these people, myself included at times, misunderstand what the Church teaches because they are relying on the education that they received when they were children". And sometimes, people have misunderstandings because they do not immerse themselves in what the Church taught from 33AD until 1965 and the pre-conciliar sources of our faith and stick squarely with what Vatican II and the new Catechism teach, which is not enough. You say: "With an individual bishop or theologian or liturgist, however, I will be more hesitant to change my position." You mean like Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Rhoades? Or are you convinced because there are "two" of them instead of "one". If that is the case, if I quote another theologian besides Hugo Rahner who disagrees with the phallic understanding of the Easter Candle, will you change your view?
Sister,My comment was mainly directed at what I felt to be an ambiguity in what Lauretta said. In talking about those she has discussed "custody of the eyes" and the like, she spoke what could be viewed as a very negative opinion of them. Might've been a big miscommunication, but Wade, dcs, and myself seemed to think she had us in mind.Now in regards to Fr. Loya, I hate to speak ill of a priest....But if he were a layman, and said the same thing, I don't care if he is or isn't an artist. We'd still have problems if he spoke about my sister, girlfriend, or any of my female friends in such a way.His comments do not show the nature of a gentleman, or of chivalry, of which we are called to. If he was trying to be cute and shock the audience, then he's being irreverent about something as good and holy as the human person.As for the rest of my opinions on the man, I do not make it a point to speak ill of a priest in public beyond what is absolutely necessary to make my point, so i will leave it at that. :)
I find that the language used by Fr. Loya is reckless and irresponsible. It's almost guaranteed to be misunderstood and create controversy. I think his language is actually worse (in the sense of being sloppy) than West's language.When speaking about these topics, you have to be careful, use nuance and clarification, and be attentive to how people might read your words.
Mr. Killian,I agree. I can point out many areas where I think Mr. West provides an invaluable contribution with the subject of TOB.With Fr. Loya, I find so much of his work so tainted, so crass, so irreverent, and in the case of his defense of the paschal candle (where he goes well beyond what Dr. Smith and Mr. West have said), well, borderline blasphemous.I have and still do recommend some of what West does to friends (anyone shocked yet? lol) but I can never do so with Fr. Loya.Such a shame, because much of what he says about the Eastern Rites (including on his radio Show "Light of the East") is very rich and fascinating.
Kevin,I think I understand what Loya is trying to say in that last CE article. The problem is he's just way too crazy in his words for anyone to easily get the true sense of what he intends to say. It's totally reckless.I wonder sometimes if he doesn't yield to the temptation to create controversy for controversy's sake. It's of no help to anyone if he and he alone knows what he believes, while his words are creating nothing but more confusion. Oh well.
Brian,I can indeed see what he is attempting to say. Yet I would agree, he is the clerical version of a shock-jock. Problem is, at times one way too easily crosses the line and says statements which cannot be reconciled with Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person.This is one of the problems with West, Dr. Smith, et al. They sensationalize Church teaching, and end up saying things that at best are impious, worst contradictory to Church teaching and understanding, even if that isn't their intent.This happened on this very blog, where St. Frances De Sales was all but accused of being a Manichean without any evidence, when all he did was basically cite 1 Corinthians 7.
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