The beauty of intimacy exists because it is private, to be shared only with the beloved. When the sense of privacy is destroyed, then the intimacy is destroyed. Is there then any hope for romance, when the mystery of physical love is constantly examined under a microscope, on television, on podcasts, everywhere? It is especially damaging, I think, when this occurs under the pretext of learning about chastity, under the cloak of religion. The fruit of the breakdown of modesty will ultimately be adultery, which Dr. von Hildebrand alludes to in her remarks.
Dr. von Hildebrand writes beautifully of the reverence with which married love should be approached, saying:
The tragedy of original sin is that all the beautiful male qualities of strength, courage, objectivity, nobility, a chivalrous attitude towards women, degenerated. The danger created by original sin is that many men use their strength and become brutal and abuse women or look at women as mere objects of pleasure....To my mind the conflict between man and woman can only be healed by striving for holiness.Dr. Schindler's analysis is also quite profound (via Terry and Donna) as he makes it clear how a disordered outlook towards physical love easily spills over into what at best can be called silly and at worst can be called blasphemous. If individuals come from families where the body was seen as dirty, and intimacy could only be spoken of in terms of smutty jokes, then I suppose a frank discussion feels liberating for them. I only hope that the cure is not worse than the disease.
My husband is right when he says that *some* chastity programs can be characterized as "Catholic porn" because they may become an excuse to talk about sex under the guise of lamenting the evils of fornication. It is as if a bunch of alcoholics at an AA meeting talked about their favorite cocktails the whole time, all the while saying how terrible it is to drink.
People have been making love and having babies since time began. Why suddenly everyone needs to run and listen to a sex therapist in order to understand what love is should tell us that something has gone terribly awry.
Contemporary worship certainly has been stripped of mystery yet the human soul continues to thirst for the transcendent. When the mysteries of the supernatural are downplayed and denigrated then there is hardly anything else but the mystery that binds man and woman together, the mystery of sexuality. It is easy and very human to lose oneself in passion. Nevertheless, once sexuality loses its mystery by being debased and misused then there lies right beyond it the mystery of death. To tear down the veil of reverence for the mystery of human intimacy is to open a dangerous door.
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