A Universal Apology Point Eight: ON CHASTITY


I am recounting the several reasons I have for accepting that the Catholic Church is what she says she is.

A eighth point was the matter of the Holy Spirit and its war with the Sexual Revolution.

During the time when I was meditating and searching, the Episcopalian denomination was suffering a schism, because the Progressive Episcopalians, searching diligently through the writings of Saint Paul and the Patriarch Moses, not to mention the entire canon law from the First Century to the Twentieth, had allegedly found some emanation of a penumbra of some Right to Privacy implicit in Christianity, albeit not formerly enunciated: in addition to married priests and priestesses (oddly, for some reason always mislabeled ‘female priests’—I wonder if Queen Elizabeth is now going to be called a ‘female king’) , now there would be admitted lesbian and homosexual priests and priestesses. And no doubt lesbian priestesses joined in the holy sacrament of same-sex union to each other was soon to follow.

The laity and clergy more interested in following the teachings of Jesus Christ than those of Albert Kinsey decided to divorce themselves from their Progressive brethren.

Now from my own coign of vantage, the only thing I respected about the Christians back in the days when I was an atheist was the sobriety and strictness of their teachings about chastity. Since this is one feature which is the source of all real hostility toward Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, it merits a word of explanation.

The concubinage and polygamy permitted by ancient Jews and modern Mohammedans, not to mention across all oriental and American lands, civilized and uncivilized, disgusted me as both demeaning to women and degrading to men. Compared to that, the Christian doctrine of monogamy is rational and prudent.

The same ills which follow upon polygamy follow, albeit at a slow pace, upon a culture which permits and approves of no fault divorce. Men are free to be polygamous, merely in a serial fashion, one at a time, rather than all at once. The proud men can jettison wives and marry trophy girls as pleases them, and the fickle wife can expel her husband from his children and his home without explanation or excuse at any time, and garner his wages thereafter, or have him tossed in jail.

In modern times, the children have all the detriment of being in competition with the children of their stepmothers for the favor of their father which the sons of Oriental potentates suffer, but without the corresponding advantage of having a stable harem of nursemaid and women to help in their upbringing. So it is the worst of both worlds.

The doctrine forbidding divorce is the sole thing in the Gospel which Our Lord Jesus Christ says with utter clarity and absolute authority, not indulging in any of His usual parables or confusing expressions. It is also the only reason for the divorce of the English Church from the Catholic Church.

I was as thunderstuck coming across these passages, after I had dropped my atheism and picked up a Bible, as anything I had ever read.

All my life, being an English-speaker raised in a Protestant culture, I had been taught that King Henry and Queen Elizabeth were hero and heroines, great champions of religious liberty, throwing off the shackles of degrading superstition and allowing each man his own conscience, et cetera ad nauseam.

It was a lie. Henry threw off the light yoke of Christianity and Christian decency so that he could abandon and kill his wives, install a fierce and lasting persecution, and loot the monasteries, and install a heavy yoke on the people of England, installing the first police state in Western history. The long term effect was the removal of the clerical institutions of charities and hospitals, monastic waystations for travelers, or any other support by which the Church traditionally defended the rights of the poor against the rich.

The normalization of divorce was also the first step to the normalization of all sexual behaviors, natural and unnatural, healthy and sick.

The Sexual Revolution, of which I was an enthusiastic supporter in my youth, revealed itself to my eyes when I was a father, and thus responsible for the upbringing of stalwart and honest sons and a chaste and beautiful daughter, to be more hideous than the Gorgon whose glance freezes men’s bones. You see, the desire of a grandfather to have legitimate children reach adulthood without suffering the social pathologies of divorce or adultery was now revealed to me by right reason as being natural, whereas the lustful and imprudent urge of teenaged boys to copulate with pneumatic harlots in bunny suits was unnatural.

And the Sexual Revolution was impossible without contraception. That point had been blindingly clear to me even long before I lost my atheism.

So, as a matter of logic, any denomination which cooperated with the Sexual Revolution, or preached and taught that the use of contraception was acceptable, was in the same category as a group teaching that that sacrifice of infants to Moloch was acceptable. They were not teaching what Christianity had always  taught.

Either the first nineteen hundred thirty years of Christian teaching was infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit, or it was not. If it was, to repudiate it was to depart from the protection and grace of that Spirit. If it was not, then there was no Christian doctrine, neither the teaching in favor of monogamy nor against aborticide, which was sacrosanct, which is the same as saying Christianity is merely a matter of private opinion, which is the same as saying there is no Christianity at all.

Whatever other men might do, I knew that I could not affix my loyalty to any denomination preaching or practicing abortion, no-fault divorce, or the lawfulness of contraception.

Such denominations are no longer part of a living Christian tradition.