I have decided to go ahead and give my thoughts on that article I mentioned in my last post. Before we proceed, let’s have a look at the actual quote I referenced from the Catechism of Trent.
“In the explanation of this Commandment [the Sixth], however, the pastor has need of great caution and prudence, and should treat with great delicacy a subject which requires brevity rather than copiousness of exposition. For it is to be feared that if he explained in too great detail or at length the ways in which this Commandment is violated, he might unintentionally speak of subjects which, instead of extinguishing, usually serve rather to inflame corrupt passion.”Catechism of the Council of Trent, p. 431
That being said, here is the backstory as near as I can piece it together. It appears a married couple who are parishioners at a traditional Catholic parish are operating an online sex shop, although they seem to prefer the term “intimacy” to sex. I won’t even mention where the parish. The blog post reporting on this claims that this is all under the approval of the rector of that parish. I went ahead and clicked over to that site to see if I could find out more about the couple. I was immediately struck by a major paradox. The stated mission of this site is to “provide a safe space and resources for virtuous romance and love.” And yet they proceed to answer all manner of questions regarding topics such as the morality of anal sodomy in marriage. Their view? Of course it’s OK! In fact, they recommend using condoms if one engages in this type of behavior. They site John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” as their justification. Don’t even get me started on ToB. Especially after reading a few passages they include on their site I am convinced it is nothing more than Catholic p*rn.
Here’s where I’m going to put this in perspective.
1) It doesn’t matter if this is coming from a trad parish or from a storefront on the Bowery. This is unmitigated smut and has no place in any discussion of “virtuous love”. The fact that it’s associated with traddydom – the couple describe themselves proudly as members of a TLM parish – makes me wonder the depths to which we have been infiltrated by minions of Satan.
2) Although Our Lord teaches that the “love of money is the root of all evil”, somehow it always comes back to genital pleasure, doesn’t it? But don’t think there isn’t an aspect of luchre here either. They’re selling things, engaging in commerce. Their trade merely happens to be sex.
3) The couples’ premise (in graphic detail about the marriage act) that spouses have a right to derive physical pleasure from one another is misleading at best and absurd at worst. The marital embrace exists for one purpose – procreation. Pleasure and unity are obviously going to accompany that (but not in the James Martin, bridge-building way). It’s kind of how God designed the whole thing. He made it so we’d want to do this thing in order to facilitate His plan for us to assist Him in the creation of new life. But that does not mean we should contort our reason to serve our sensual appetites. In fact, we should be spending the better part of our lives learning to subjugate our appetites (even our spiritual appetites as St. John of the Cross says) to God’s will. All of this reminds me of a kid in a moral theology class I took once. He would routinely ask questions like, “But Father, so how exactly far can I go with a girl before it’s, you know, a sin?” That reasoning simply belies the notion that sexual gratification is the end in itself and that trying to fit that into a framework of moral validity is an acceptable use of our reason. In other words, “What do I want to do and how do I legitimize that thing?” rather than “What does God want me to do and how can I best serve Him?”
And lastly – and please read no further if you might be squeamish…
4) Anal penetration? Are you kidding me? I am a man happily married for fifteen years to a woman. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. But that? What in the hell is wrong with any man who is looking for a way to justify that act on his wife, the woman he supposedly loves? Boy I tell ya’ that is the height of narcissism. It’s all about ME and whatever I can get. And by the way, it’s disgusting. No woman in her right mind wants it and any man who does is a fag. God gave us one perfectly working set of connectors. If that’s not good enough for you, you are beyond help. And anyone who tells you that the very act of sodomy is A-OK even in and especially in the sacrament of holy matrimony is either stupid, twisted, or evil in their desire to facilitate the commission of one of the sins that literally cries to heaven for vengeance.
As my dad used to say in these situations, after providing a lengthy answer to a complicated question…
“But what do I know?”