Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Hooking up" and other depravities

I came across an article on Godspy about a book by Laura Sessions Stepp, exploring the tragic emotional repercussions of "hooking up" and other indecent practices that many of our young girls adopt as a lifestyle. The article is not as explicit as some others circulating Catholic blogdom but please read with discretion. I will not go into details; I am with Saint Paul who said, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints." (Ephesians 5:3)

The article says that sexuality needs to be talked about more. I disagree, I think the subject has been talked to death. It's all over television, all over the internet. A friend of mine while at he beauty salon, picked up what she thought was an innocuous women's magazine; it ended up containing what would once have been found only in a manual for prostitutes.

I think that too many graphic chastity and abstinence classes, as well as the young adult groups, which discuss the details of NFP with unmarried people of both genders, are sometimes an excuse for men to talk about sex in front of women and women to talk about sex in front of men, all for the cause of Catholic morality, of course.

There is no longer the restraint that was once exercised in mixed company; there were certain things gentlemen did not discuss in front of ladies, and vice versa. This is not a matter of prudery, but of Christian modesty. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear on Modesty:

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

The article about the Stepp book says that parents of many girls are more interested in their daughters' grades and future careers than in what they do in their spare time. Perhaps this is the heart of the problem; it is for parents, not anyone else, to instruct their children in intimate matters, to teach them about chastity and how to live a virtuous life in spite of peer pressure. Parents will be most effective at imparting this knowledge if they live chaste lives themselves.

Some of the behaviors we are seeing our young people indulge in is nothing new, except that it is sadly starting at a younger age. At my small Catholic high school in the late seventies, there was a group of girls who behaved like whores. Really, there is no other word to describe them, except that real prostitutes are trying to make money; the free-living girls at our school were just "having fun." It was all tied in with drugs and heavy drinking. The strange thing is that some of those girls came from devout Catholic parents with six children or more, whose mothers went to Mass every day. The mothers must have said many rosaries, because many of the girls did grow up to be respectable matrons. I guess in the long run they wanted to be like their mothers, which is good.

Perhaps the decadence of the girls I went to school with was due to the leftover Victorian prudery of parents who would not adequately discuss bodily functions with them in an age appropriate, moral context. I think in some families "dirty jokes" and raunchy teasing took the place of honest, discreet, and discerning discussion. Maybe this remains the case in some households. My mother was not Catholic when I was a teenager but she was able to talk about life and love with us in such a way that I never saw the human body as "dirty," but as sacred. Filthy talk disgusted and mystified me for it seemed so purposeless. It still does. Modesty of speech is the foundation for modesty of behavior.



Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post, reminding me very much of Dr. Alice vo Hildebrand.

Thank you.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Terry. I am glad that Dr von Hildebrand and I think along the same lines!!