Saturday, March 26, 2011

Answering "L": The Culture War and more

I know that I exasperate my secular readers at times. "L" has been a loyal reader and commenter, and I have enjoyed debating and discussing with her. I think we have much more in common than we initially realized, although yesterday's post may have set us back a bit!  ;)

A few days ago, L challenged me on some things, and I thought I'd give it a whole blog post, even though it's a mix of subjects.

I feel that this "culture war" is a farce designed to keep everyone politically polarized and towing their party lines. The DEMs & GOPs need this war to be happening because many people are realizing that there is common ground, but we can't lose our voting bases, so we demonize the "other side." 

I disagree with this. The liberal and conservative bases are comprised of true believers. The "war" is a battle of ideas between those true believers: Liberals truly believe that their philosophy and worldview is the best one, the one that will help the most people. Conservatives truly believe that their philosophy and worldview is the best one, the one that will help the most people. 

I thank God for the freedom to have the vigorous debate so that those in the middle can see the clear difference. The culture war is not contrived, it's utterly real. 

"Common ground" has its place, but not when fighting for truth over error. I'll let Gandhi make my point:

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take. 
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

For the conservatives I know, it's not about towing any party line. I can't think of a single conservative friend who is not disgusted or disappointed with the GOP. Catholic Republicans will walk if the GOP begins to support abortion or gay "marriage". Catholics have no ultimate loyalty to any political party. We are loyal to our Church and our God. From our perspective, it's a battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death. And the battle is a spiritual one (again, utterly real).

Think about this: You have me, you all, and college student - all different religious/political persuasions and nuances, yet we can ALL agree: Abortion isn't good. We don't want abortion.

I believe that you don't want abortion. I believe that many liberals don't want abortion. However, the leaders of the pro-"choice" movement are not exactly saying that. They are saying "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology". Some of them call abortion a "sacrament" and a "blessing". The abortion lobby convinced the Democrats to take the "rare" out of "abortion should be safe, legal and rare" in their party platform. Planned Parenthood issues "Choice on Earth" cards, equating (and mocking) the "peace" brought by Christ on our holy day to the "choice" of abortion. 

Does any of that sound like "abortion isn't good"? I beg you to read what the abortion lobby, the feminist movement, and academia write and think about abortion. 

We are talking about life and death for millions upon millions of children. Real live human beings, not figments of our imaginations. If you really think that the 50 million body count, the over 4,000 aborted babies a day is "not good" and you "don't want it", then why do you support it? Why do you call yourself pro-"choice" when the "choice" is so horrific? Why don't you fight to make it illegal to kill these children? I could never identify myself with a movement that promotes and defends something I believe to be "not good" and something that "we don't want." Help me understand why you are not on our side?

So instead of putting our heads together and thinking of solutions we can agree on, like building up women's self-respect, embracing our fertility and demanding more out of men OR how to stop pregnancies form being a "burden" and forcing women to choose between career and kids.... We're having a "culture war."

Yes, yes, all these things you want, I want them all, too. Please, yes! However, all those laudable goals are not a substitute for the legal protection of the unborn. The laws of our land protect every human being except for the smallest of our brothers and sisters. They deserve as much legal protection from killing as you and I get. So, these are completely separate issues. It's not an either/or, it's a both/and. 

If a "culture war" is necessary to protect the lives of innocent people, then it's essential to have a culture war. Think of the culture war over civil rights in the 1960s, and how vital it was! Abortion is the human rights issue of our day. The beautiful thing about America is that we are free to debate ideas vigorously and work to influence public opinion -- i.e., a culture war.

The problem is that you will not be satisfied unless everyone immediately converts to Catholicism.

No, not true. This thought has never crossed my mind, because it is absurd. Would I absolutely love it if all people were Catholic and knew Jesus Christ as the savior of the world? If they realized that they were made in the image and likeness of God and never acted contrary to their own human dignity? If they found peace and joy living according to the Ten Commandments? If they achieved their highest happiness in union with God, a union for which they were made? Yes, I would love that! But it never occurred to me that the goal was to immediately convert the world to Catholicism. 

First of all, conversion of the heart is generally a very slow process. Secondly, there's that "free will" thing again. The Church proposes, not imposes. It is meaningless to humans and to God if someone is "forced" to believe something. We would all recognize that as a farce. It's like a bride being "forced" to love her husband. Who wants that? It's not real, and it's not love. God wants our love, not our forced conversion.

Everyone must see sex as god's gift for hetero, married procreation only. 

Well, there's no changing the truth that sex is God's gift for marriage and the procreation of children. Sexual intercourse is the union of a man and a woman who become "one flesh", and it is ordered only within marriage. Genital stimulation and sexual play can come in all forms, but only a man and a woman can have sexual intercourse, become one flesh, and make a new person. 

Anyone who is disenfranchised, simply cannot have sex. 

When you say "disenfranchised" people, what does that mean? That designation can cover everyone from homosexuals to pedophiles to polygamists to those desiring incestuous sex, or sex with animals, or children having sex, you name it. How do you define "disenfranchised"? 

But yes, sex is a privilege of marriage, and unmarried people should not be engaging in sex. Interestingly, the world "celibate" actually means unmarried. Think about that. The culture used to understand that sex was for marriage. The Church still does.

Everyone must want children.

I'd say it this way: Everyone who gets married and has sex needs to be open to having children, because sex produces children. That is actually what sex is for. The purpose of sex is babies, and the meaning of sex is love. These two aspects cannot be separated. Life and love always go together. It's a beautiful theological truth that I hope to blog about sometime. And it's true not just for sex, but for God Himself and for our whole lives.

If someone truly does not want children, then perhaps he or she is not called to marriage. It is actually grounds for annulment if a couple comes to the altar of marriage with the express intention not to have children. "Will you accept children from God lovingly...?" is part of the Catholic wedding ceremony, and must be answered in the affirmative, before God and man.

You seem to think there was once this Utopia where these rules were the norm and everyone lived happily and perfectly... until the Devil infected the people we now call "the liberals." (ha ha - my tone is fairly light) And we all have to hearken back to this mythical time. Newsflash- there never was such a time. 

Well, of course there was the Garden of Eden before the Fall, but after that, you are so right! I don't think you'll find any entity on earth that knows and speaks of this more than the Catholic Church. That we live in a world of evil and sin is not a newsflash to Catholics. I see my own sins every single day, and it's not pretty! Time and again on this blog we've said that "there are no new sins, just recycled old ones". So you are preaching to the choir here. I am glad you agree with the Church on this! 

Ironically, it's actually progressive liberals who believe that we humans have "evolved" morally, and that we are *this close* to forming some great, vast Utopia on earth. (If only Christians would stop oppressing everyone! ;))

And as far as community help is concerned, I don't have a problem with that! Please help out your community! To be frank, my husband and I always defend the Christians when it comes to charity -- they are awesome. We have many Christian friends an relatives who are always doing amazing work. I am inspired by them. 

That's awesome to hear! Thanks!

But on the other hand, if we only supported our own communities and the charities we thought worthy, most people would be left out. Sure, Maggie's Place in Phoenix would be booming, flat-screen TV's, top-line Medela breast pumps and leather rocker/glider ottoman sets. 

I know you are being funny, but seriously, a charity like Maggie's Place takes any extra money and simply opens a new house to help more women in crisis. They will always use the money as wisely and frugally as possible, in order to help the greatest number of people who need help. You won't find any excess and waste in these charities. (They don't operate like the federal government, heh heh!)

Inner-city and rural substance abuse shelters? Not so much. Babies are way cuter than most of these guys and besides - inner city & rural people don't have the resources that the folks in your neighborhood do. Hence we all need to chip in for them.

Oh, but we do. We don't give only to the cute babies. Did you read about some of the stuff St. Vincent de Paul does for example? Not much about babies there. And last time I hosted a table at their annual fundraising breakfast, there were over 2,000 attendees filling two huge adjacent ballrooms in a resort. The halls, food and staff were all donated for the occasion by the host hotel. All this to help "not so cute" people (homeless, elderly, disabled, sick, imprisoned) find their dignity. 

And DCFS, Public Aid, things like this that save people every day are vilified by the right as being "entitlement." Healthcare coverage for all children is an entitlement to them. 

You are talking about policy here. Policy issues are issues of prudential judgment on which reasonable people may differ. In the public sphere, there are a few non-negotiable moral issues for Catholics. On everything else, there are no objectively "right" or "wrong" answers. Yes, we must feed the poor and help the needy. But the "how" of it can vary wildly from person to person, depending on our philosophy, experience and even our personality.

I have never in my life heard a conservative say that there should be no safety net for those who are truly in need. That is a no-brainer. But in my humble opinion, that is not what we have today. We have programs and departments that have become unwieldy and irresponsible, which too often serve to keep people entrenched in their unfortunate situations. The intention behind these vast government programs may be good, but the results are often horrible. The amount of bloat and corruption in these programs (some of which are glorified Ponzi schemes) is shocking to anyone paying attention, and no liberal or conservative should tolerate it. Fiscal responsibility is a moral issue, too, after all! If I go nuts charging up my credit card, and I end up bankrupting my family, then I am acting immorally. Disordered. Against virtue. 

Programs that truly help and are effective? Yes! And the more local, the better. Programs that are wasteful and strip the dignity away from those whom they serve? No, thanks. Just because a program "sounds compassionate" does not mean it's a good program. It might even be a very bad one.

Again, my political views, aside from the non-negotiables, are my own. You are free to disagree, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

Libs can't understand why pro-lifers could throw sick kids under the bus and this is why you have the title of your post.

Look, we are all called to help the needy. And that's what conservatives do all the time. Since liberals incessantly slam conservatives for being mean and stingy and unfeeling towards others, I simply must correct the record: It is a fact that conservatives give to charity in much bigger numbers than liberals. It's really not even close. I think it's because liberals see taxes as their major source of "charity" and help for others, while we religious folk know that our obligation to help others begins after the tax man cometh. Jesus told us to feed the poor, clothe the naked, and care for the widows and orphans. He didn't tell us to pay the government (passively) so they could do it instead. So, we pay our taxes and we give to charity, in abundance. This is hardly "throwing sick kids under the bus" (or "wanting kids to die", or "wanting grandma to eat dog food" or any of the other unjust and insulting things we conservatives have to hear every day). I hope and pray that at least one liberal reading this will have the integrity to stop slandering conservatives on this issue. 

I just think you do have a gift of riling people up which can be used for good instead of another voice pushing us all apart.

I don't know. I think that on many issues we are already "apart", and my blog is an appeal to bring us together to talk it out, challenge assumptions, look for Truth, and remember our human dignity. A lot of us from different persuasions have come together and had good conversations, staying fairly civil and respectful!

If I wanted to "rile people up", I would use a lot more emotion, present fewer facts, ask fewer questions, all while rudely shouting down the other side. As it is, everyone is free to present their case, and I welcome it! I try very hard to stay in the realm of reason and evidence, and not go off on emotional tirades. It's true I might have failed at times, but I am trying. 

I realize that the only true "sin" of the modern liberal age is "offending" someone, but in the end, that cannot be my concern. I have to speak the truth as I know it, boldly (and hopefully charitably). Then, it's up to the readers to weigh the arguments and decide what they will. 

And ultimately, I gotta be me! :)


  1. We are big Leila fans over here!!

  2. Fantastic, Leila!

    "I just think you do have a gift of riling people up which can be used for good instead of another voice pushing us all apart."

    You know what this made me think of? Jennifer Fulweiler's quick take (see #2) about atheist P.Z. Myers. Now there's a guy with a "gift" for riling people up who uses it for the sole purpose of insulting those who don't agree with him. I MUCH prefer the purpose of your blog, Leila!

  3. I know far less about sex, life and just about everything than the ladies on this blog. And thus my humble opinion is comprised of observance, deduction and complete fabrication

    But here are my thoughts on the matter.

    When my great-grandmother got married she was 16. When my grandmother got married she was 18. I imagine they were both virgins when they were married. My great grandmother did not finish high school. She gave birth to her first of nine children at 18. I imagine she did not using contraceptives or NFP. I imagine she not consider abortion. She worked in the home for her entire life. She relied on her husband financially. I imagine even if she was unhappy she did not contemplate leaving him.

    In many aspects the life she lived has many aspects you want our society to have. Sex inside marriage; sex that is always open to life, no contraceptives, no abortion and no divorce.

    However this model didn’t required that women and men wait until they were old to have sex, rather they got married young to have sex. Just as an unmarried 18-year-old girl with a baby, a married 18-year-old girl with a baby has limited opportunities for her education, which limits her ability to find job, which makes her totally on reliant on her husband, which is problematic for all the reasons you know.

    You have said before that you are basically trying to revive old values- no sex outside of marriage, but you aren’t asking people to do the same old thing, you are asking someone totally new. You are asking 27,28,29 and 30-year-old people to be virgins or asking people to get married earlier so they can have sex earlier. (I think you are more in favor of the former though)

    You also want something else: that any time a woman has sex, she open to having a baby. The implications of this to me are so unbelievably detrimental to women. Why? Because women couldn’t do anything but be a mother. And there are so many other things in the world to be. Women who are pregnant all the time can’t be president, they can’t be reports in Bagdad, How do you think the nation would react if our president was a woman and announced she was pregnant? Imagine a pregnant women standing at the podium addressing the nation or Gaddafi. Imagine how America would be mocked. Imagine how the other party would berate her. Imagine going though medical school with three children just because you wanted to wait until you were married to have sex so you got married at 18, and didn’t use contraceptives. I understand NFP, but not all women have regular cycles, nor do they want to abstain from having with their husbands for a week Sex outside of marriage has consequences, it does, but there are also consequences in a society that mandates sex within marriage ie the 1950’s.

  4. It's not like Catholics invented this out of thin air. Nature dictates it. Sex and pregnancy go together, whether we like it or not. It's unhealthy, unnatural and problematic for society when we fight tooth and nail to do away with or ignore this connection.

    It's SO not impossible to refrain from sex despite strong desires, and to plan your life/career/marriage/family accordingly. I'm a little fed up with hearing that put out there, as though we have no choice but to go with it when we're really, really turned on. Sorry if I sound a bit harsh here, but I just got home from my amazing, gorgeous, sweet boyfriend's house where we did NOT fool around (because why torture ourselves when we know it's not the right time for sex yet). We've been dating 16+ months and are waiting for my annulment to be complete before we can get married. I! WANT! TO! HAVE! SEX!!!! Sorry to be so blunt, but hell - this is HARD!!! I love him like crazy and I'm DYING for our wedding night!!

    But we're being responsible about this. It *IS* possible! I'm not exactly superhuman in the virtues department, yet I'm doing this right.

    Sex and procreation go hand in hand. That's natural. That's God's design. It makes perfect sense that sex belongs in marriage. And it makes sense for us to take control of our actions and behave responsibly, rather than work ourselves up and let our sex drives dictate our behavior, above our reasoning and/or morals.

    It is ABSOLUTELY possible. Trust me. You have no idea how much I understand this tonight.

    (God, I can't wait til my annulment's done....)

  5. Let me get this right College Student- A woman should have the drive, determination, and ambition to go all the way to the presidency, but we shouldn't expect her to have the self-control to abstain for one week out of her cycle? That doesn't add up.

    For pretty much every other virtue, we, as a society, think women and men are capable of being virtuous. Except self-restraint. That's fallen out of fashion.

    Your grandmother lived in another time and place, where one salary was expected to feed a family, and where moms formed the backbone of the commnnity. I don't know if you are still able to ask her, but you might be surprised to discover she was PROUD to be married to such a provider, and PROUD to have raised her children. Even though it isn't popular anymore, women are still allowed to be as proud of these things as they are of being a doctor or lawyer or president. You are allowed to go after your dreams, the Catholic church doesn't object to women in the workforce! The objection comes when the hunt for that dream tramples everything else underfoot, including natural order.

    "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?"

  6. Leila, that was a wonderful post, clear, convincing, thorough and passionate. I think you summed it all up with this little phrase though..."The Church proposes, not imposes."

    Amen! It could be the title of your book. "The Church Proposes" :-)

  7. Very good post Leila!

    Do you think we would even have the culture wars if the left and progressives weren't trying to break society down by working to destroy the traditional family and the dignity of the human person? We fight the culture wars because we have to to keep this world sane.

  8. I am an Aviation Communications Supervisor at the World's Second Busiest Airport©, and I also abide by Church teaching with regards to the Gospel of Life.

    I have (shocka!) two kids, not 27.

    It is *not* hard to live naturally and in accord with nature regarding fertility and procreation.
    No one has ever suggested I take off my shoes and get in the kitchen, and I find it incredibly irksome that the teensy minority of Catholics who think having more kids makes you more pious are held up as the example of how we *all* think and worse, of what our Church teaches.

  9. And by the way, there have been plenty of female world leaders with pregnancy/children as a normal part of their powerful lives. Just because it hasn't happened here does NOT mean it's not normal or something which would be derided.

    President of Argentina
    PM of Australia
    Gov. General of Australia
    President of Costa Rica
    PM of Finland
    President of Finland
    President of Germany
    President of Ireland

    and on and on and on.

  10. What is a liberal?


  11. Cathy, I would add that Sarah Palin actually was pregnant and did have a baby as the Governor of Alaska. No one has been derided more than she has, for the audacity to not only have a fifth child, but one who has Downs Syndrome. So, the very people who should be admiring her ability to have babies AND have a big career, are the same ones who vilify her on a daily basis, almost like a sport.

    L, could you expand on that question? What part of the post are you asking about? Thanks!

  12. Let me get this right College Student- A woman should have the drive, determination, and ambition to go all the way to the presidency, but we shouldn't expect her to have the self-control to abstain for one week out of her cycle? That doesn't add up.

    Monica, that deserves a post of its own. Well said.

    Sweet Jane, thank you for your powerful witness!
    And Cathy, you are exactly right.
    Sunshine, great point.

  13. L said, Libs can't understand why pro-lifers could throw sick kids under the bus and this is why you have the title of your post.

    L, let's just go with whatever you meant when you said "Libs". I will use that as the definition. Whatever you meant.

  14. Leila - no. I want clarity (to coin your catchphrase) this time. Before we go 'round the mulberry bush - you tell me what a liberal is.

    As a matter of fact, all of you tell me what a liberal is. What does a liberal believe? What does a liberal think? What does a liberal do?

    I am going to be out today, but I promise if you all take the time to tell me your definitions, I will have a response tomorrow.

    Thank you (seriously),

  15. How do you think the nation would react if our president was a woman and announced she was pregnant? Imagine a pregnant women standing at the podium addressing the nation or Gaddafi. Imagine how America would be mocked. Imagine how the other party would berate her.

    College student, pro-lifers would be thrilled if a female president were pregnant! What a beautiful witness for life! Who cares if the world mocks goodness and virtue? What do I care what evil dictator Gaddafi thinks? I am not looking for the world (which is FULL of human rights abuses!) to "respect" us. That is the problem with the liberal mindset. America has always been mocked for being America, and I have absolutely NO problem with that.

    By the way, I have no problem with young marriage. One of the most mature and blissfully happy couples I know were 19 (man) and 21 (woman) when they married four years ago. When that young man was 16, I used to converse with him like he was a 35-year-old. He was raised right and is among the finest providers, husbands and fathers you will ever meet. Amazing.

    Anyway, my point is that young marriages are fine with me, now let's just raise our children to be more mature (like past generations were at a younger age).

  16. L, and I am totally serious that I am A-okay with using whatever definition you meant when you said the quote about "libs".


  17. To clarify, L:

    I know that you had a general idea of what you meant when you used the word "Lib" in the above quote. We both know that general idea. Let's work with the common understanding of the word (which is what you used), so that we understand each other. Otherwise, we risk losing clarity as we begin parsing words (what the definition of the word "is" is).



    Reading the quote from Chesterton in the above post might help you understand my point about not parsing words.

    If you use the word "conservative" I have a general idea of what you mean. When I use the word "liberal" you have a general idea of what I mean. Let's not start a Tower of Babel.

  19. Leila, as for me, I just want to thank you for pointing out that Gandhi was.........a fundamentalist. ;-)

  20. It's a personal mission of mine to take back the word 'liberal'. Just sayin'....

    How many people would vote for someone calling himself a Marxist? But if that Marxist claims to be a 'liberal'...well, then...they will...and that's why the term was co-opted.

    Another word co-opted by the Left: "Conception"

    "Conception" means "beginning" which the Left claims is relative, hence the term has been co-opted and so, now, no pro-lifer should support legislation that defines life as beginning at "conception" as opposed to "fertilization".

    This is why it's important to define terms in debate.

  21. Lisa, I agree to a point, but we also need to use words as they are generally understood, or we cannot have a conversation. Then it becomes Babel, and sometimes I wonder if this need to parse (and redefine) words is why/how those on the Left can silence people, confuse them, and shut down the debate. Because I have the feeling that unless I parse words as L is asking, she will say that she simply cannot answer, because she has no idea what my words mean. I could be wrong, and I am sorry, L, if I am not understanding your point, but I fear that is what is happening here. It's the first thing I thought of when I saw that her answer to my post was that one little question.

  22. Light bulb,

    In all the comments I’ve witnessed the ones about education and early marriage are the most telling to me and I think I am finally able to understand your position

    I was raised in the education comes first model (maybe this is the liberal paradigm, not entirely sure). Nothing Nothing, Nothing could come before attaining my education. Many adults on this page have commented that they don’t think higher education is necessary. I have never ever heard an adult say that before.

    Because education and career come first, it would never occur to me to transfer or leave school altogether for a boy, even if I wanted to marry him. It seems unfathomable to do so at this young age. I frankly didn’t know it was an option. I do know of a few associates who are engaged in my year (none of whom were waiting for marriage and all who are on BCP) and I would never think to be happy for them, because again getting married this young seems insane.

    I am not saying whether or not that is the right attitude to have, but I wanted to express the mindset in case it would be helpful to share.

  23. College Student,
    I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to complete your education before marrying and having a family. I certainly went that route!

    And I'm really glad I did. I would have never been able to give my son a detailed explanation of the mating habits of frogs if I hadn't (No joke, we went to the vivarium today, and the drive home involved amphibian sex ed...)

    Whether or not a woman prioritizes the completion of her education to the point that she would not consider marriage in her early 20s is her own business. But if tat IS the priority, then she should set herself up to achieve that goal morally- by not engaging in an act meant to bring about new life.

    That's the whole story. No one here is against women completing an education. Many women here are well-educated and employed in competitive fields. We just don't think it's the be-all-end-all measure of success for a woman (or a man, for that matter). We think that living a virtuous life is the definition of success here on earth.

    Once you choose to live a virtuous life, you may find it takes you to motherhood, to the Peace Corps, or yes, to the law firm or even the presidency.

    And yes, I was once a very UNvirtuous college student myself, and I sure wish I hadn't let modern culture brainwash me into thinking I was "being successful" because I was checking off the bachelor degree box, and the cute boyfriend box, and the research job box... Sigh.

  24. Leila - Yes, a chair is a chair is a chair. But a human being is a 3 dimensional, thinking, feeling entity. I NEED to know what you think a liberal is and what your readers think a liberal is because my "general understanding" is very nuanced and I would like to address this topic clearly. It is easy to say "liberal" but we need to define it or we are not going to be on the same page. (For the record, I feel the same way about conservatives who can all be wildly different).

    I don't care if you stereotype because you cannot articulate each feeling every last one of the billions of people in the world have. But I need to know what your thoughts are. I need to know what all your regulars think.

    Please, I am not trying to set any of you up. Tell me your thoughts. I will absolutely reciprocate. If I do not know what a liberal is to you, I cannot go further in this conversation.

    Leila... as you so often say... Please answer my question. I always try to answer yours, including last post that drove me batty.

    PS - Thank you Lisa G for ever so slightly addressing the answer for me.

    Okay - now I really have to leave the house!


  25. Still can't speak indepth right now, but college student I am so glad that there is some clarity there! Now we understand each other a bit better, and that is a good thing!

    L, I will define it soon. I feel better about what you are asking!

    Back to both of you when I can...

  26. college student, my fellow blogger and friend Jen (former atheist) wrote something here that touches upon what you said, esp. a few paragraphs in:

    There really is a different worldview among devout Catholics. I just thought it was interesting!

  27. L, here's something off the top of my head:

    Modern liberals (as opposed to classical liberals, of which I am one) believe in building an egalitarian society, in which the government is in charge of making sure that everything is "equal" and "fair". Modern liberals are proponents of a strong and big federal government, not militarily, but regarding social programs. To put this into place, they are okay with taxing and spending to meet those social goals. Corporate America is generally looked down upon as exploitative, and government is the entity that can and should regulate and reign in private business. Government is the giver of rights and the highest legitimate authority.

    On social issues, modern liberals support unmarried sex, gay sex and gay marriage, and abortion.

    Basically, as David Horowitz (former Communist, Leftist radical) has said: Liberals are only "liberal" on issues of sex and drugs. On everything else, they want to control what we do, through government laws and regulations.

    (This is why I have a choice to abort my own child or march nude in a gay pride parade, but I will soon lose the choice to buy an incandescent lightbulb.)

    Examples of well-known liberals:

    Barrack and Michelle Obama
    Nancy Pelosi
    Harry Reid
    Keith Olbermann
    Rachel Maddow
    Ruth Bader Ginsberg
    Al Franken
    Pretty much anyone in the mainstream media
    Pretty much anyone in academia
    Pretty much anyone in Hollywood
    Pretty much anyone at NPR
    Pretty much any operatives for the Democratic Party

    Modern liberalism is all-consumed with issues of race, class and gender.

    That's about it for now. I hope you are clear on it now, if you weren't before, and I pray we don't have to start parsing words, but I think you were clear that that is not your intent.

    I am sure some of the former liberals here can add some eloquence to what I've offered.

  28. College student: Um, it's not crazy to "ask" people to wait until marriage, even if they are going to have to be (gasp!) in their late-20's or even THIRTIES (agh!) until they have sex. I managed to do it just fine, and was pretty far from looking like a troll. It makes a difference when you know what you want, and you refuse to settle for less than what you're worth. I got my BA, worked for my sorority for a year (yep, as a "professional sorority girl" I still kept my V-card intact), taught high school for 4 years, met my now-husband at 26, and then got married at 27 just before starting my MA. And, I married a (super-hot) virgin. That's what happens when 2 practicing, intelligent, and worldly (as in, widely traveled, unlike what many people tend to think when lumping virgins in the "boring people who stay at home" category) Catholics fall in love-- 2 virgins and 5 degrees between them. And now, 5 years later, 2 kids and plans for a couple more.

  29. Leila,
    Absolutely. I am finally beginning to understand the Catholic worldview.

    Before I didn’t understand how and why a whole group of people could be so obsessed with such un-important and personal things such as sex and homosexuality-but it is because Catholics see the PURPOSE of LIFE differently from other people.

    Please correct if me I’m wrong, but I’m gathering that one of the main purposes of Catholic life is to make more life. If that is your number one goal (aside from elevating Christ) you are going to organize your life entirely differently! Education will not be the most important thing; career will not be the most important thing.

    In your teenager years and young twenties you will prepare yourself not to be independent but to be interdependent on your spouse, your major goal in life or one of them will be in finding a spouse and you will spend most of your life with them creating as much life as possible. I am going to ponder on this for a minute but could someone tell me if this is right. If so I have many more questions for you! I think i am finally getting some clarity

  30. college student, you are getting very close! :) I would only take issure with a couple of things, and the first is that no one has to get married. Some are called to single life, some religious life. But yes, most people are called to marriage.

    And the other thing is, we don't have to "create as much life as possible", (that would be a lot for some people, ha!) but we have to be open to life if we are going to be married (i.e., having sex), because sex and marriage are about love and life. And life is all about getting to Heaven (union with God) which is the purpose of our creation.

    But it's really pretty cool to see how you described it and how you are getting the bigger picture! Thanks!!

  31. PS: I will write more later about how education is VERY valued and important to Catholics. Including me. :)

  32. One more thing:

    Being fruitful and generating LIFE is definitely the point of our existence, and sometimes creating that life is in the form of actual human beings (new babies!), but sometimes it's about being fruitful in other ways. Our lives bear fruit when we love God and live the virtues. So, infertile folks can live very fruitful, life-giving lives, as can priests and nuns and single people and anyone else! It's awesome!

    So when we say it's a battle between the Culture of LIFE and the Culture of death, we really mean that. God is Life Himself, and Jesus said: "I came that they may have and enjoy LIFE, " John 10:10.

  33. WHOOPS!! Somehow the second half got deleted from Jesus' words:

    "I came that they may have and enjoy LIFE, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows." John 10:10.

  34. I like your blog, Leila. I read it quite a bit more than I comment. I appreciate this discussion because I have been recently been finding myself drifting from liberal toward conservative in my thinking, but I'm still trapped in "limbo" for lack of a better term. It's good see a healthy debate drawn out which can help me to articulate (even if it's just to myself) my trepidations on both sides.
    So thank you. :)

  35. Ummm, I am actually more with 'L' than with Leila. I mean, I understand her frustration. Leila, I remember emailing you a while back and suggesting you use the word "progressive" instead of "liberal"....and really, that's what they refer to themselves as now anyway. That is, "progressive". Just use that instead of "liberal" and try to instruct everyone not to even use the word "liberal" because no one really knows what it is anymore anyway.

    I use Left and Right. "Right" includes a whole lot of people I disagree with and "Left" includes a whole lot of people I disagree with. As a Catholic, I'm called a "statist" by many of my righty friends and a mouth-breathing knuckle-dragger by my lefty friends....and that is where I am comfortable. ;-) In the land of the hated. ;-)

  36. Come to think of it, L, maybe I didn't help you out. I haven't read the whole discussion here. But anyway, defining terms is important to some extent. I mean, otherwise you talk past each other and get nowhere. It saves more time than you might think, to define terms.

  37. Bethany, great to hear from you! I am glad you are reading and I hope to continue to clarify points as we go along! It helps me, too, to hash all this out and get it on paper, so to speak.

    Lisa G, you are right that being Catholic defies any political designation. It just is what it is and both sides tend to hate certain aspects of Church teaching. For me personally, I will take the political designation of "conservative" because that is where I feel most politically at home. I feel much more at home with the term "conservative" than with the term "Republican".

    And, although I am most definitely a "classical liberal" no one even knows what true liberalism is anymore, and I refuse to call myself something that is mistaken for an ideology that is the opposite of what I hold. Sadly, you and I alone cannot get the world to remember what (classical) liberalism really is and really stood for.

  38. Hoping to chime in later, but thank you Leila, I did not know that data about the comparative generosity of liberals vs. conservatives. I learned something today.

  39. College Student,
    Catholics see the purpose of life as this: "To KNOW God, To LOVE God, and to SERVE God." That is the universal reason we are here, whether our vocation is as wife and mother, or nun, or priest, or layperson.
    We do not see the purpose of life as having as many babies as humanly possible, but as cooperating with God's grace to the point that He transforms us into the best version of ourselves so that we can show others the love God has for them. At the same time, God invites us into participating in the act of procreation for the purpose of bringing more souls (which He knew and loved beforehand) into the world for this same purpose. To the extent that we participate with God's divine grace is the extent that we are transformed into saints and are able to be in union with God in Heaven for all of eternity. Have you ever considered reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church? It's a beautiful read and well worth your time!
    Leila, when you expand on how important education is to Catholics perhaps you could go into how much profoundly religious scientists (and priests!)have contributed to the field? (scientific method, big bang theory, etc. :) I'm not sure if you have done such a post in the past, but I love how you write and I'm full of ideas for posts ;) haha!
    College student,
    What is the purpose of life from your perspective? Is it to receive as much education as you can so that you can collect as many material goods as you can? And if so, what does it all mean, and what happens when you die? Is everything temporary, or do you feel inside that there is something out there eternal? Do you feel whole inside?

  40. Funny, Leila when I read your definition of liberalism the song "The Trees" by Rush immediately comes to mind. :)

  41. A,
    I was actually in not saying there was anything wrong with the Catholics view of the purpose of life, rather I was trying to understand your worldview better because it effects your outlook on everything,

    What do I think the purpose of life is? Ha I have no clue in the slightest! As I come to the end of college I must for the first time think about what I want from my life ( as high school and college were what was required of me by my parents and society) Right now my goals are being happy and deciding on a career path and looking for jobs. When I settle on a purpose I will surely let you know.

  42. Barbara, I just looked up the lyrics! That is funny!! :)

    A, that is a great point, and you are right, the Church has been a leader in education on all fronts since forever, including the founding of the university system! I love when secular textbooks explain how the cells of the body got their name! (Hint: Cell are the small rooms in a monastery.)

  43. Another point regarding Leila's definition of liberal. While I understand you are trying to create a clear, well defined concept, as someone who used to be left-leaning I can see how that definition might border on caricature or stereotype.

    Indeed there are streams and cross-streams inside left-wing thought which sometimes contradict one another. Leftism has also evolved over time. I was going to make this point on the other post but I forgot, from about the 1920's to the early 1950's a good portion of the intellectual left was Stalinist (actually they tended to be split right down the middle between Stalinists and Trotskyites, but after the victory of the Red Army at Berlin there was a huge surge in Stalinism until the 1950's when Stalin's human rights abuses were revealed), then in America in the 1960's the sexual revolution came about, but the blending of Marxism with Sexual liberation and feminism wasn't always smooth. Many Marxists, for example were very sexist, talking out of both sides of their mouth on women's issues. Also, many saw the liberation of sex as bourgeois corruption infiltrating the revolution.

    Thus to frame leftism as being both supportive of big-government and supportive of sexual liberation is seeing it from the perspective of the conservative, because you oppose one and the other, you see them as part of the same movement. It's a little more complex.

    I use the term "liberal" occasionally, although in Canada it has a totally different meaning. (The Liberal party in Canada is not all that "leftist", it tends to be more in the center. The NDP and the Bloc Quebecois are socialist parties) Sometimes I say "leftist", since feminism, sexual liberation and socialism are all in a sense "left wing" positions. Lisa's term "progressive" seems more precise.

  44. Barbara, thanks for that! I cringe at using the word "progressive" as they are anything but. I know they like the word. Left and leftists sound good to me, but I can't help but think that most people in the country are not all that invested in politics, and would understand the word "liberal" better (even though that word has been co-opted!). So, I usually use liberal, because it fits a general pattern of today's secular humanist thought, which includes lots of social programs and regulations, an anti-corporate mentality, and most unfortunate of all, sexual libertinism.

    I want to make very clear again that I am defining what I see as the stance of today's liberals, not the history of how they came to be that way. But I love learning about what you know, Barbara, because you have much more knowledge on that that I do, by far.

    Am I the only one who chafes at the word "progressive" for the Left?

  45. *clarifying: I use the term "liberal" because it is what most people understand about the group of people (such as the base of the Democratic Party) who like a lot of social programs and federal regulations, have an anti-corporate mentality and are for sexual libertinism.

    I think that most American citizens, political or not, are familiar with that general understanding of modern liberalism. So, I use the word, and I expect that most people will know what I am talking about.

  46. I can see how the term "progressive" might be off putting. It seems to imply that the opposition is "regressive". I don't think any term can put appropriate boundaries around the concept or around people's political views in their entirety. My husband is a great example of that, he's both a Central American socialist and devout Catholic who opposes sexual libertinism and abortion and yet insists on voting for left-wing politicians because he sees the right as responsible for the oppression his country suffered during its protracted Civil War in the 1980's. I am not sure what title to use with him, or myself for that matter as I tend to favor some social programs. Being Canadian I have reaped the benefits of our health-care system during my pregnancy and I have often found the social safety net very helpful for things like family allowance, childcare, and welfare for a time. I would have been sailing up Schitts Creek without those things.

  47. Barbara, I totally understand what you are saying. Sometimes I have used four designations:

    fiscally conservative and socially liberal: Libertarian
    fiscally liberal and socially conservative: Populist
    fiscally conservative and socially conservative: Conservative
    fiscally liberal and socially liberal: Liberal

    So, your husband might be a "populist" in that lens. Something like that.

    I am speaking more in the way Americans use the terms of liberal and conservative, the groups which comprise the base of the two major political parties here. I think the terms liberal and conservative may have different meanings/nuances in Europe, Canada and South America.

    Catholics have traditionally been Democrats, back when Democrats were classical liberals and definitely before they were known as the party of abortion and gay rights. Today, Catholics are moving toward the Republican party, mostly because of the moral issues, the non-negotiables. Many Catholics feel politically homeless.

  48. I am still digesting everything said here and truly trying to understand the catholic world view especially in terms of the culture of life.

    I have two questions which may seem random:

    What do you think of the HVP vaccine

    What are your thoughts about HIV/AIDS, a while ago someone, I think it was Maggie said AIDS was a moral crises not a medical this a predominant view?

    Thank you all for your help

  49. college student, I think they are great questions.

    The HVP vaccine is something that I personally chose not to give to my daughters. I have some worries about the safety of the vaccine itself, but also I don't philosophically believe in giving innocent young girls shots for the possibility that they will be sexually active. It just doesn't sit right with me (or my daughters, who were actually sort of appalled by the idea). However, I know good Catholics who think that the shot is prudential, and they have given their daughters the shot. So, there is no right or wrong answer there.

    HIV/AIDS is such a sad thing, and it's awful how politicized it's become. The Catholic Church is at the forefront of caring for those around the world dying of AIDS. I have the most beautiful photos of Mother Teresa's nuns lovingly caring for some dying men in an AIDS home. The men love the nuns just as much as the nuns love the men.

    As to the crisis aspect: AIDS is one of the few viral diseases that is almost 100% preventable. It could be stopped in its tracks if people lived according to the moral law. That is not some kind of slam against anyone, it's simply a cold, hard fact that is not in dispute. The very best prevention against AIDS is living a life of virtue, the Catholic way.

    That being said, we are to love and care for anyone and everyone who is afflicted with disease and suffering, no matter how they got it.

    I hope that helps.

    Thank you for trying to understand us... you have no idea what that means to us!

  50. College Student: My first comment got eaten up, but here are the cliff's notes (do they still make those?). I have a master's degree and my husband has a PhD. We also have 4 kids with one on the way. We value education extremely highly. We just don't value ourselves over others, which the get an education and be successful mentality often leads to. Being open to life and living the Gospel teaches you that you can be successful but it can't come at the expense of others. It is entirely possible to be successful and open to life.

  51. Leila - AIDS is not 100% avoidable if you are chaste. It exists in the blood and sexual fluids. People have gotten it from transfusions as well or any setting where blood can mix. Contrary to rumor, the first people to get the disease did not "do" the monkey. It happened much like it does in Asia with birds, close contact with infected animals (including eating them, etc.)

    If we were all chaste, AIDS would still exist, but we would have staunched one large avenue by which to contract it. (A good start, but not 100%)


  52. L, that's why I said "almost" 100% preventable. Even the folks who got it through blood transfusions got it because someone else had it, almost always through sexual transmission. Can we agree on that?

    Do you think AIDS is not almost 100% preventable? How preventable do you think it is?

  53. You say "a good start", I say that would stop most AIDS in its tracks. That's better than a good start.

  54. Thank you for the definition. I have to say I am a little disappointed by the bubble bunch, though. If someone disputes the Catholic idea of sexuality, your readers are all over it with their "facts" to quickly put a smackdown on all the "liberals" who think/do (fill in the blank.)But when I ask what a liberal is... crickets. (with a few small exceptions, and only after you have given an answer for them to expand on.) I was hoping for more, I guess, but asking what a liberal is isn't as easy as parroting talking points.

    Okay - I hate to do this, but as soon as I got on the computer, the baby woke up and my girls (on spring break this week) are suddenly fishing for snacks and something to do. "Vocation" calls, right? I swear I'll be back as soon as I can to talk about the infamous "liberal" as well as address your points in this post. :) Bear with me - thanks!


  55. L, no problem, take your time! I completely understand.

    I admit to being totally baffled by your disappointment though. It is easy to define Catholic teaching, not easy to define every liberal who lives on the planet. So, I gave my general definition (which I think is generally common knowledge), so I am not sure exactly what your point is. I mean that sincerely, I truly don't know why you are disappointed. If I have misrepresented liberalism in America, feel free to tell me where. If I have misrepresented your personal beliefs, then please correct me there, as well. I don't think I ever said that every liberal thinks exactly the same on every issue. In fact, I am sure I have not.

    Maybe when you respond to this post (and tell me what I got wrong), I will better understand what your beef is. Because I honestly, truly don't get it.


  56. L., I think you're being a little unfair. As Leila said, the question "What does the church teach about X?" or "Why does the church teach Y about X?" is much more specific and more easily quantifiable than a broad, open-ended question such as, "What is a liberal?"

    For the record, I jaw a bachelor's degree and work full-time outside of the home; I have 3 kids and am open to more.

  57. *I have a bachelor's degree... stupid iPhone autocorrect!

  58. L,

    This is not the first discussion Leila has had on the definition of "liberal" and whether or not the term is appropriate to describe the specific group or mindset regularly in conflict with Catholic belief. I will go back through the archives and see if I can't dredge up the post in question.

    At the time, several of us who are on Leila's side of the fence also questioned the term, and alternatives such as "Left", "Secularist", "relativist", etc, were proposed. None of them is going to satisfy everyone, as there will always be someone in *that* category who objects to the term, or objects to the traits being associated with the term on this blog.

    For me, the term "liberal" would go by the current political definition, which I take to mean a social liberal (social laissez faire) and fiscal conservative (gov't regulated trade), vs a Conservative, who is usually the opposite.

    But what I appreciate about this post, and a previous one (Pick a Side) is that the two camps, regardless of the title, are defined as those who support a culture of life, and those who do not (and therefore enable, or actively support, a culture of death).

    This culture war is not JUST about abortion, but about the foundations of our culture as either protecting or denying human life and dignity, in all its forms, and at all stages of life. It is unfortunate that the "culture of life" is seen in the public sphere as mostly being picketers at pro-life rallies, when really, the culture of life is a philosophy for living that starts from conception and lasts until natural death, and effects all of our choies in between.

    I'm off on a tangent here, but to come back around... I don't know what a liberal is, but I generally understand what group of principles Leila is referring to when she uses the term. So there. :-)

  59. College student, those are great questions. Others have already answered, but I'll add my 2 cents.
    Ugh, wrote too much again, will split into 2 parts.

    Part 1

    "What do you think of the HVP vaccine?"
    I'm thrilled about it, but simultaneously sad about it. In college I worked for a professor whose research group did a lot of the initial work on the vaccine, so this is pretty close to me (I'm a microbiologist by training, though I now work in ministry... go figure). I am thrilled that science provided an answer to something that plagues so many people. That's what science is supposed to do. God gave us brains to use them for the good of humanity.

    Yet the reason the vaccine is necessary sickens me. As others have highlighted in this thread, some STDs can still be passed without sexual contact, which is true. But the vast majority of them are acquired by sexual contact. It's the darker side of having more than one partner. Even "safe sex" isn't 100% safe. Condoms break. or have tiny holes or degraded latex. And many HPV strains are passed from groin contact, not just genital (sorry for the graphic ness! But that's true!).

    But I don't waste a lot of time worrying about HPV for myself, because I'm a virgin and plan to remain so until I marry. If my husband is a virgin too, we have literally ZERO chance of contracting HPV. As I grow older (I'm almost 26) the odds that my future husband will also be a virgin when we marry are smaller and smaller, so when we are engaged he will need to be tested to make sure that nothing's brewing... but I will cross that bridge when/if I come to it.

    When I have children, I will not give them the HPV vaccine. I do not hold anything against women who get it, nor those mothers who vaccinate their daughters, but I think the mentality is backwards. Rather than "Vaccinate because you will probably have sexual contact with more than one person and therefore your risk of infection is high" is backward; rather let's teach chastity (holistic chastity, not just abstinence). Let's be proactive rather than reactive. That's a personal choice, not a moral one, so people can do as they wish.But I believe that one of the reasons people are so comfortable having multiple partners is because they are enabled by the mentality of safe sex, and I don't want to contribute to that.

    continued below:

  60. Part 2
    What are your thoughts about HIV/AIDS, a while ago someone, I think it was Maggie said AIDS was a moral crises not a medical this a predominant view?

    You already know how I feel about this :-) But I'll reiterate briefly to say that, much like with HPV vaccines, we ought to be proactive rather than reactive. Many children have HIV because their mother did, so clearly we need a loving and dignified and pastoral solution to help them cope with the disease (ie, drugs, which I'll talk about in a sec...). But for those not currently infected, let's teach chastity.

    RE: drugs for AIDS. Let me first just say that the pharmaceutical industry as a whole pisses me off (sorry for the language, but I'm really really riled up about this)! Medicine ought not to be the privilege of the wealthy. Jesus didn't heal people because it was profitable, but because he had compassion. So similarly, the fact the companies invest in research/development for profitable drugs (viagara, etc) rather than NECESSARY, LIFE-SAVING drugs (malaria! tuberculosis! cholera!!! Aghaha!!) is sick. I recognize they are businesses, not charities, but something is off there.

    So while there are drugs that suppress HIV and prevent it from reaching its full blown state as AIDs, they are monstrously expensive, require a lot of training to use properly, etc. If I had my way, drug companies would be forced to provide them to poor countries (Africa, etc) at a rate proportionate to that country's average per capita income. WHich will never happen (I'm sure some of the fiscal conservatives here will jump in to tell me why that's a terrible idea, but I'm not looking at economics; I'm looking at the human suffering).

    Lord,have mercy.

  61. Okay. What is a Liberal? I asked this question because I believe we are ALL creating strawmen. When journalism & politics in this country has degraded to the point of Keith Olbermann versus Sean Hannity or Nancy Pelosi versus Sarah Palin - we ALL lose. Big epic fail.

    You said in a recent post "As Nero fiddles while Rome burns..." referencing Barack Obama's response to the Japanese crisis. Do you really think that our President cares more about the basketball tournament than the suffering in the world? Do you really believe he did nothing to help Japan? Or did you just read another alarmist article on the internet that made you think we're all going to h-e-l-l in a handbasket?

    Does George Bush really hate black people, too? ;)

    It is not that you and your readers criticize leftie ideology or philosophy. It is that you and your readers blow it out of proportion when it suits you and lump a lot of ideologies into one issue. Which is starting to become a realization for me.

    Let me make fun of my husband's cousin for a moment, because we can all be annoyed with her. She is a major PITA. (that's an acronym for where someone can be a pain) She has to make sure you know the radio station she listens to is "progressive." She flips out if something isn't organic (not getting the irony of feeding her toddler nothing but "organic" hot dogs all day.) She thinks the Iraq war was masterminded by George Bush himself for oil. (but that's the only reason she cites) She is always waxing on about articles she read on the Huffington Post. (YES! I hate the HuffPo as much as all of you! All opinion disguised as "news" - What crap!) No one can stand her. She is supremely self-centered and can criticize religion all day, but can't be bothered to do anything more for this planet than donating $10 to the World Wildlife Fund. She claims religion is anti-woman, but it is my Methodist mother-in-law who is devoted to the local PADS shelter. Not her. But you know what I can't stand most about her? She votes all the way down the ballot for one party because of ONE ISSUE of which she has limited understanding. ("The Environment" if you are curious.) For her, "The Environment" is like your "Abortion."

    During the last presidential election, as I was standing in line, some loudmouth decided to pipe up about how he "only cares about the presidential election" and doesn't know anything else. He didn't say which candidate he wanted, but alluded that this election was too important to "lose." He didn't look 'right' or 'left' so to be honest, I have no idea what he would have considered a win or a loss. I live in the suburbs of Chicago, so again - it could truly go either way. I asked him, "You don't care about the local elections?" And reminded him that those people will be affecting your life faster than Washington. He said, "I don't know who any of them are." I responded where he could have gone on the internet to find that information (The Trib had a 'local ballot' thing where every candidate, their platform & their website was listed.) And all of the sudden, one of the polling booth workers chimed in, "OH! An INFORMED VOTER. Imagine that!" While giving the guy an icy staredown.

    Yes, I voted for Obama. However I also voted for quite a few local Republicans. I would have missed the guy who wanted to bring science and technology companies to our area in lieu of the "leftie" who thought we need to be on wind power - now - if I had just voted party line. I would have missed the woman with more experience and instead voted for the guy who had never held office in his life if I voted down my party line.For one issue.

  62. I had a lot of thoughts about who people were when I was younger. Then I got a job working for a video production company with a total Leftie Liberal, Moderate black guy, Christian black guy, Christian Chinese guy, Jewish woman, Hispanic father of four, etc. And in and out all day were clients of various sexes, ages, political leanings, religious beliefs, number of children, married, not married, common law, divorced, hetero, homo, bi - the whole gamut. I was even involved in a lesbian relationship for a short time. So many of the things I thought were blown out the door when I met and truly lived alongside these people who I cherish to this day.

    I am left-center and my husband is center (though I say he leans to the right more often) and we debate all the time about things. We both keep one another in check, which makes more stimulating discussion and forces us to be progressive in our solutions instead of "hearkening back" to a mythical time that never existed. (Or at least, since Eden in your eyes.)

    My dad has a friend that is hardline conservative (not religiously, though). He and his wife have a welcome mat that says "The No Spin Zone" to give you an idea. His friend, who is a trader, does most of his work out of the home these days and was going off some issue. And my Dad just said, 'Listen, I have the South African guy at work, the Russian, The leftie Nam vet and the conservative rural trucker, and all the rest in and out of my office all day and they're all great guys, so I just can't feel the same way you do.' And his friend just said, "I got to get out of the basement."

    AMEN. We all do. Instead of basing our knowledge of the other side on actual human contact (with people of other persuasions, of course!) we read editorials disguised as exposes. We watch opinions disguised as documentary. We have "facts" thrown at us all day long, but how can we fact check it all? We all make our decisions with heavy confirmation bias.

    Two loud bullhorns of dueling BS is not fair and balanced. Taking the nuance and common ground out of everything disenfranchises most of the population.

    This is why I believe the 'culture war' is total bunk.

    It is easy to say "make the killing of innocent unborn babies illegal." It is not so easy to look into a woman's eyes, who will die if she carries her baby to term, and tell her "so sorry, but you have to die."

    It is easy to say "We have to stop coal and oil right now!" But not easy to look developing countries in the eye and say "Yeah, sorry - you'll have to stay poor, because we're going to deny you the boost we got from the industrial revolution."

    This is where I have to leave it for now. But I do have more to say in regards to your question "Why am I not on your side?"


  63. Hi L.

    I take your point about the attitude of Catholics "slamming down" alternative views of sexuality, certainly it would seem that way as Catholicism has a very clearly defined sexual ethic, as opposed to the secular model which places a much weaker boundary around it called "consent".

    The truth is sexuality is pretty much the main field of the culture war. It's the one point where, especially this day and age, secular people get all up in our faces. "Feed the hungry...sounds good, clothe the naked...gotcha, personal relationship with the Creator, excellent, respect for the dignity of all human beings, sounds great, sex limited to a fruitful marital relationship...wait, what?"

    Seriously, if Catholics said "have all the sex you want with whomever you choose, male or female. Marry anyone you like,(as many people as you like) use all the birth control your body can handle, abort any pregnancies you're not ready for." Then liberals would love us. Because Catholics have a sexual ethic with strict rules, rules which, by the way, are designed to protect people from the myriad kinds of abuse that take place in the sexual realm not "spoil their happy genital party", the left jumps on us, demonizes us in the media, makes Virgin Mary's out of defecate, dips Jesus in piss and all kinds of other "classy" artistic expressions.

  64. "The left jumps on us, demonizes us in the media, makes Virgin Mary's out of defecate, dips Jesus in piss and all kinds of other "classy" artistic expressions."

    No no no! The left does not desecrate Mary. Some a-hole does that. Most conventional lefties (using Leila's definition) don't condone that at all, but they understand the 1st amendment gives that "artist" the right.

    Are you aware many lefties are Christian?

    anyway, my comment is in spam, but Leila should post it soon.


  65. "The truth is sexuality is pretty much the main field of the culture war."

    Yep! And I am starting to understand that. I can respond later.


  66. wow- so mcuh food for thought here! I zoomed in on your comment about celibacy "the culture used to understand that sex was for marriage. The church still does."
    And thanks for the distinction betw modern and classic liberals - sometimes we use terms without stopping to understand what the distinctions are..

  67. "No no no! The left does not desecrate Mary. Some a-hole does that. Most conventional lefties (using Leila's definition) don't condone that at all, but they understand the 1st amendment gives that "artist" the right."

    Thank you for saying this, L.

    However, one problem is that the "left" also supports taxpayer funding of such atrocities. For example:

    "New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani revoked the museum's city funding in 1999 after it held an exhibition including a portrait entitled "Holy Virgin Mary" smeared with elephant dung and including cut-out photos of female genitalia. The city and the museum went to court over the funding dispute. Under a March 2000 settlement, the city was ordered to continue giving previously allocated money to the museum and an additional $5.8 million in capital funding."

    I don't disagree that artists have the right to create and display whatever filth they want. However, I don't think that extends to having the "right" to public funding, but my perception is that the "left" generally protests when funding is cut to museusm et al that showcase offensive "art."

  68. L. You´re right. It was some jerk who did that and a lot of lefties did disagree with it. The problem, as I see it, is there is a culture within academia that promotes and supports "edgy" ideas and art, which basically means publishing papers arguing for the homosexuality of Jesus, or creatively debasing Catholic symbols and ideas in order to "provoke" debate and get people to "question" definitions of sacred and profane. I run into this stuff all of the time. As a lefty I even bought into it as "provocative", now as a Catholic I see it as the equivalent to taking a photo of someone´s mother, writing the word "whore" across it and then calling it art. It is "art" I suppose, in that it visualizes a concept, but it also offends the intimate life of an individual. For Christians, Jesus is someone with whom their relationship is not just as believers to a God, or worshipers to a sacred image, its a close intimate relationship with a person.

    And yes, I understand that many lefties are Christian. That´s a whole other kettle of fish. My dad is one, he´s an Anglican priest, and I was a lefty Christian before I dropped the lefty part. I made a long transition.

  69. Yes, but the museum encompasses more than that particular exhibit. Cutting museum funding because one passing exhibit offends you is the issue lefties stand up to. If they gave that particular artist government funding, then that would be wrong - but it was given to the museum.

    Trust me, as an artist myself - I HATE those installations. Often times they are simply a desperate grab at infamy than have anything to do with art. What does it say to smear Jesus in excrement? NOTHING. It says "oooh - look at me I am going to create controversy."

    The only thing to come out of it is issues like the statement above. Can we cut a museum's funding simply because we don't like an exhibit?


  70. Can we cut a museum's funding simply because we don't like an exhibit?

    L, this is a policy issue. I would say that in this budget crisis, let art be privately funded if there will be porn and Christ-bashing defended.

    I have no desire to censor filth either, but like JoAnna said, just not on my dime.

    I agree with Barbara, the crux of the culture war is sex. I have been wanting to write on that for some time.

    All the wonderful things you said are well and good. But they don't touch the point I was making about the culture war. Yes, I love people of all persuasions, but I don't have to love their ideas, and I can work hard in the public sphere to influence things my way. Your husband's cousin is a true believer (though misguided!). I am a true believer. We both have a right to put out our ideas. Most people in the country are not all that political and really just want us "all to get along". That's fine, and it's a nice feeling, but it's not what I want, ultimately. If we are just trying to "get along" then truth doesn't mean anything anymore. To many people it doesn't. But to me it still does. To the Church it still does.

    I guess I'm not exactly sure what you are wanting? Specifically, what would you want to see me do that would make you comfortable on this blog.

    PS: The slam about Obama's lack of leadership ability is shared by many on the left as well. That is not a partisan thing.

  71. "Can we cut a museum's funding simply because we don't like an exhibit?"

    It's not as simple as that, though. Someone (or a committee) at the museum had to green-light that exhibit, so my response would be to find that person (or persons) and see why they are bigoted towards this particular religion, and then remove them from their post if they can't at least strive for some modicum of human decency when choosing which exhibits to display. I would say the same of a museum that chose to display a Star of David smeared with excrement, or a Koran smeared with excrement, or Richard Dawkins' book smeared with excrement.

    Like you said (but in my own words), there's art and then there's provocation simply for the sake of provocation. Museum personnel of publicly-funded institutions should be able to tell the difference. If they can't, their funding should be revoked until they can.

    This doesn't deny any artist a forum with which to display his or her artwork; it merely denies them public funding with which to do so.

  72. She is a believer and you are a believer. But what about those of us who want to "know" instead of "believe"?

    She believes something blindly without understanding politics or the effects of her beliefs at all. Is that the self comparison you really want to make?


  73. Just thinking out loud: I wonder if the Left would consider Jesus in urine "hate speech" against Christians? Well, I think we already know the answer, but maybe someone will be brave enough to say that it is? I still wouldn't want laws against it, though.

  74. L, please don't think I'm comparing her knowledge of truth to mine. I think she is in error. My whole life is based on Truth, not "feeling" or a blind need to 'believe' something. I come to none of my opinions on theology or policy on feelings. It's all about thought, reason, logic. Policy issues are my opinion, based on my many years of thinking it through based on knowledge and fact, but the moral law is not my opinion, of course.

    I still don't quite get your point.

  75. L, the term "true believer" really just means you are very sure and passionate about your position. It's not meant to imply a lack of knowledge or thought.

  76. L, last thought: I would love it if you would actually address the points I worked so hard to compile in the body of this post. :)

    Let me stipulate: We all love each other, and we all want what's best, so let's starting talking about the post. I was answering your points, after all. Thanks!

  77. Okay. My questions have been answered. When I ask if we can stop creating strawmen the answer is no.

    When I ask if we can figure ways to agree and lower the abortion rate, the answer is no.

    When I ask if we can have some tolerance for all walks of life and think of ways that we can help society, the answer is no.

    Because we are at war.
    Because it all boils down to sexuality.
    Because Because the Right is always right and the Left is always wrong. Across the board. All the time.
    And your truth is the truth, never mind everyone else with claims to the truth.

    I see where I am. And again, like the original culture war post, I am saddened that we can't work some things out while you live your way and I mine. :(

    Sorry, I am war-weary. I am just looking to make the world a better place, not arm up and fight.

    I'll leave you to it. Thanks for the debate!


  78. Leila - will do.

  79. Wow, L, I think almost every point you just made misrepresented me. I am just shaking my head. I hope the readers got more clarity on what I was saying in this post, because I don't think I made myself clear to you.

    Thanks for participating!

  80. Still incredulous and shaking my head: I just have no idea where you came up with that conclusion, L, but I can see why it's hard to talk to one another. Sigh...

  81. Are you not fighting a culture war?
    Did you not say your truth was THE truth?
    You just agreed with Barbara that it boils down to sexuality. Did you not?
    Did you answer if you believe Obama doesn't care about Japan? No. You said 'lefties criticize him too' You skirted the issue I brought up of where you get all your information.

    Tell me how I have misrepresented everything.

    (I will answer you,too, w/in the next hour or two)


  82. I don't comment here very often, but I wanted to throw in my two cents on this post! L. said,

    "Instead of basing our knowledge of the other side on actual human contact (with people of other persuasions, of course!) we read editorials disguised as exposes. We watch opinions disguised as documentary. We have "facts" thrown at us all day long, but how can we fact check it all? We all make our decisions with heavy confirmation bias."

    Of course I can only speak for myself, but when I define what a liberal is (which I will do in a minute) it's based on the most personal of relationships; the one with myself. I considered myself a liberal/progressive/democrat/whatever other term you want to use, for many years. I worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign in MD while in college.

    However, I do not consider myself a liberal anymore. I guess I'd call myself a "small c" conservative. I am not a Republican, but I am not a Democrat either. I think by Leila's definitions she posted above, I might be a populist.

    That said, I just wanted to remark that not everyone who reads this blog is pulling the definition of liberal out of their @&&. I'd be willing to bet that a fair few of the regular readers and ones who comment once considered themselves liberal. I also think that given the current climate of our culture, that just about everyone will personally know at least one person who calls him/herself a liberal. I just think it's somewhat disingenuous to assume that people reading this blog only talk to or hangout with other orthodox Catholics, and that our ideas of what a liberal is are based on nothing but FoxNews (which, by the way, I cannot stand).

    That said, here's what I think a liberal is - how I would have described myself as a liberal:

    -pro-gay marriage
    -anti death penalty
    -pro-animal rights/environmentalist
    -would never, ever consider not using contraception (unless they did so for environmental reasons, see above)
    -think tax and spend is the best way to run government
    -want more taxes, regulations, etc. on business
    -think the government (rather than churches, charities,private institutions) is the best caregiver for the poor/disadvantaged.
    -want universal government-run healthcare
    -want to cut spending on military only
    -would not support school choice (voucher) programs, charter schools, or any other alternatives to current public school system
    -think that there is no real place for people of faith in the public square, or that religious people need to check it at the door if they want to enter into the public square.
    - preach/teach tolerance of all beliefs/lifestyles except for people who are openly devout Christians, and those who live traditional sexual morality. (not that they preach violence toward these groups, rather just an attitude of "how could they?" and "Why should we listen to anything they have to say?"

    I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but the baby is just waking up! I just wanted to throw that out there. Now, before anyone jumps on me, I know that not all liberals would believe every single thing I have listed, and I'm sure I missed something, but I think that what I've said is a pretty fair assessment. I also think that the culture wars are a very real thing.

  83. L, I'm trying very hard to be clear, but maybe some folks just won't understand me. I'll take the blame for that. Let me try again:

    1) The culture war is a war of ideas
    2) I said that on issues of morality, the moral law, the Truth is the Truth and it doesn't matter who says it is or isn't, because it was not set by us. Please reread Gandhi's quotes. Somethings are true objectively. I believe (and it's no secret) that the Church's view on human sexuality is true. True for you, true for me. That doesn't mean I'm going to shoot you for not believing it or knowing it. But objective truth is truth no matter what you or I think of it. It's for us to seek and find, then receive. It's not for us to define or determine subjectively. I've covered the issue of "truth" before, but maybe you were not here yet:

    Yes, sexual truth is part of objective truth.

    Other issues like HOW to feed the poor and deal with health insurance? Those are issues of prudential judgement as I mentioned in the post. I can still think one way is better than another, but I am not going to claim absolute TRUTH on my way. I will advocate for it, but I won't die for it.

    As far as Obama.... The man may "care" very deeply about Japan, but whether he has "feelings" for the country of Japan and its people mean nothing to me. A country cannot be governed by wether or not a president "cares more" or "feels compassion". It requires leadership, and pretty much everyone is agreeing that the guy doesn't have leadership skills. He generally sits on the sidelines until he is forced to make a move or speak. You may disagree. So be it. It's my opinion, and one that I don't make lightly. I read all different sources and watch different sources of news. From Fox to MSNBC to CNN, to the NYTimes to talk radio. I like to keep up on what everyone is saying. So, I am not sure how I skirted your question? I really am trying to understand what you are asking.

    I said let's work on girls' self-esteem and all the rest. Let's do it, I said! What I cannot do is say, "But some babies just don't have the protection of the law to stay alive. Oh, well, that's okay with me." Can't do it. Sorry. Not a moment's hesitation on the cause of human life.

    You said I set up straw men. Huh? What did I say? What straw man am I setting up?

    You said:
    When I ask if we can have some tolerance for all walks of life and think of ways that we can help society, the answer is no.

    When you write something like this, my brain feels like it's twisting. I just want to say, "WHAT? I said we cannot have 'tolerance for all and think of ways to help society'? I said "no" to that? When? Where? huh???" I think you may be confusing me with another blog? I am so confused. Sigh.

    Please help me understand, but if it's more of this type of thing, then I am sorry, I'm sure it's me, but I can't go on. I feel like maybe we have reached a point of clarity and we will let the readers decide.

    Sorry, like I said, I'm sure it's me, but I don't get what you are saying or doing.

  84. Sarah, thank you so much. You said it so clearly and I hope that helps people understand. I agree with what you wrote and your caveats. Thank you.

  85. Just flipping through the latest edition of the Economist now and came across the sentence "Although to some extent Mr Obama is again shrinking from leadership..." and thought I'd toss that out there as more evidence that Fox News (which I don't personally much care for either, L) isn't the only media source disgruntled with our President. Ok, back to laundry, dinner prep, and catching up on the news of the world (outside of the Bubble!).

  86. I'm sorry, I have to jump in here to add details to a subject I care greatly about:

    1) the museum show referenced as "unseemly" in above posts was called "Sensation" exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

    2) The piece that included elephant dung was a piece by Chris Oifili (let's give the artist some credit shall we?)

    Did any of you actually see this exhibit? If you had, you might have walked by Chris Ofili's painting and never even noticed the brown lumps that supported it against the wall (and look like dirt) was actually dried elephant dung.

    You probably would have been more disgusted by the giant glass case with a rotting bovine part inside that was producing swarms of flies, living inside the case....or the shark suspended in preserving fluid inside a glass case. Those were by Damien Hirst.

    When it comes to supporting art and differing viewpoints, I have no problem with taxes helping to fund artistic projects....


  87. I don't want you to compromise your beliefs. I want you to think about the real-life implications of your culture war. Sara - I like your answer. Because you said "small c" I have respect for it. NOT because I want you to see things "my" way, but because you are a free-thinker who doesn't see every issue through the xtreme lens that EVERY MAJOR NEWS OUTLET - FOX, MSNBC wants you to. Like I said, two bullhorns of BS do not make fair and balanced.

    What I wanted to do with this is not make you relinquish your belief that free sexuality equals a culture of death (though I'd be happy if you did), but THINK about who your imagined "enemy" is.

    The effects of your culture war and slippery-slope logic is the reactionary behavior you were appalled at in that PP video "I have sex!" As soon as we say war, both sides get defensive.

    I wholeheartedly believe politicians are using these beliefs to keep their voting base strong.

    One side says "Oooga Boooga! It's all a slippery slope until we have pedophilia for all and bestiality is the norm!"

    The other side says "Oooga Booga! It's all a slippery slope until Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' is nigh!"

    And here the vast majority of people are, stuck in the middle of "true believers." That scares me, quite frankly. You know who else are true believers? Terrorists. Cultists. The Manson Family. Animal rights activists that bomb lab tech's cars...

    That's why I am not "on your side."

    You say, "The liberal and conservative bases are compromised of true believers."

    I say change the word "of" to "by."

    I can tolerate you and your beliefs, even though I completely disagree with your concept of God. Heck, my kids get baptized! (for my sweet mother in law's sake, but I don't fuss about it)

    It all boils down to a fundamental understanding of sexuality. But my understanding does not prevent you personally from living the way you believe. Your understanding leads to preventing me from living the way I believe.

    I just wish everyone wouldn't get so caught up in demonizing the other side.


  88. Whoa, L. Hang on a sec. You're comparing true Christian believers to: "Terrorists. Cultists. The Manson Family. Animal rights activists that bomb lab tech's cars..."?????????? Did you really just do that?

    Funny, then you say, "I just wish everyone wouldn't get so caught up in demonizing the other side." wonder we can't have a conversation.

  89. L, I am speechless.

    On this topic, we are just multiplying words, apparently. I think we have reached the best point of clarity that we can (I tried my best), so now we just let the readers decide.


  90. L, I appreciate that you say you don't want anyone to compromise their beliefs. If that's true, wouldn't it make sense for people to act in the public sphere according to what they believe? For instance, when voting? It seems that you don't mind us living how we choose, but when it comes to our participation in government, policy and public life, you want us to compromise them because they might affect someone else living how they want. But that is what democracy is about-letting people have a voice. We effect one another; our beliefs and our votes effect one another. Am I misunderstanding?

    I'm glad you applaud Sara's use of a small "c" when talking about what she thinks, and indeed saying you can respect it because she's a free thinker. Do you realize that many commenters here have basically articulated that same thing? Politically, most of us have articulated that we can't identify with one party or another. I'm surprised that that hasn't come across to you.

    For the record, we don't want to compromise on our beliefs because we LOVE. We LOVE and uphold the dignity of all people. We will "the good" for them and we firmly believe we know what "the good" is, through reason and Revelation.

  91. Thank you, Complicated Life. I think that I've mentioned that Catholics are sort of politically homeless, with no perfect Party out there. I think I've mentioned that sort of things many, many times on this blog. And yes, this is ultimately about love, and the "good". Thank you.

  92. Leila - you said we cannot come together when you said we are at war. Do you get it yet?

    If I said everyone on the right was:
    -anti-abortion, even in cases of incest, rape and life of the mother.
    -anti-gay marriage, even if it is a civil union legal contract and not a church sacrament.
    -pro death penalty
    -anti-animal rights - animals are for us to use and eat only
    - doesn't care about the environment
    -would never, ever consider using contraception because they are all open to having children.
    -think little/no government and every man for himself is the best way to run government
    -want no taxes, regulations, etc. on business so they can get out of contributing to society
    -think just the church and private institutions can handle the country's great need to help all the poor,sick, hungry, drug addicted, incarcerated, disadvantaged, disabled, elderly, etc. (not to mention road maintenance, libraries, parks and recreation... all those other things that taxes pay for)
    -want insurance companies to continue denying us
    -want to pretend they don't spend, but give defense a budget of 726 billion dollars
    -wants to privatize schools so they can teach religion and keep the poor kids out (who gets vouchers & who doesn't?)
    -think that Christianity should be taught in schools and used to impose laws upon people who are non-believers
    - Teaches creationism in schools. Erases Thomas Jefferson from the textbook, whitewashes history to fit religious overtones
    - preach/teach fear of homosexuals, liberals, feminists, atheists, pagans, etc.

    You might agree with a point or two, but it takes you out of context, doesn't it? Do you agree with my ticker list assessment? (I don't)

    But it makes me think you are scary.
    Like Sarah's list (which I don't really fit anyhow) might make you think I am scary.

    When in reality, if we were having coffee and discussing such matters, it wouldn't be so easy to be frightened of one another. Hence, this "culture war" might be more of a "culture disagreement" that we could work on meeting halfway on, then you live your way, I'll live mine.

    What is so baffling about this, Leila?

  93. Nicole C - no, we can't have a conversation because you are extreme in your views & have a one-track mind at the moment. The other ladies and I are conversing just fine.


  94. L, that was my first comment in ages. What is my one-track mind? What track am I on? I was just a bit appalled that you implied that Christian "true believers" (your words) are sort of on the same level as "Terrorists. Cultists. The Manson Family. Animal rights activists that bomb lab tech's cars..." Again. Your words.

    How is what I'm saying SO much more extreme than what everyone else is saying? Seriously. I'm asking. What kind of crazy extremist stuff am I saying that's so much more "out there" than everyone else. I'd love some examples.

  95. BTW, Nicole, I guess we are extremists. I prefer the terms ordered vs disordered, but then I already did a post on that. I guess living ordered, virtuous lives (or striving to!) is extreme now. Sigh.

    Anyway, how I wish that L would have just answered/discussed the points I made in the post, but I don't think I can expect that to happen.

  96. L, just FYI, Sarah's words were how she would describe herself when she was a liberal. She lived it. Those were her beliefs. It was not an ad hominem list, like yours was "describing" conservatives (as if we describe ourselves like that?).

    I just will let the other ladies take it from here.

  97. Thinking out loud:

    Because liberals are scared of conservatives who might become terrorists (which is what liberals hear from the NYTimes), conservatives need to stop advocating their extreme positions so clearly, so that they don't keep scaring people (based on erroneous reports from MSNBC and CBS). And somehow having coffee together and agreeing to disagree and go our separate ways will save the unborn from unjust killings.... how, exactly? Oh, it won't. But then as long as babies are still being legally killed, and as long as marriage is under assault, then I guess I have to keep on advocating scary things like "we don't kill innocent people, ever" and "marriage is a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of raising, protecting and educating offspring."

    I think I just need to step away from the computer for a time.

  98. I would just like to go back to the post and address something L said concerning the Church and charity-
    "Inner-city and rural substance abuse shelters? Not so much. Babies are way cuter than most of these guys and besides - inner city & rural people don't have the resources that the folks in your neighborhood do. Hence we all need to chip in for them."
    I was at a food shelter in Atlanta a few weeks ago helping out and I just wanted to throw it out there that almost (if not all)all of the volunteers were from some sort of church group.

    Just an observation.

    By the way, AA is a Christian value-based organization, and the way recovering alcoholics overcome their addictions is by (gasp) filling that void with God.

    I'm not going to go into what the Church teaches about having your kids baptized when you don't believe in the effectual graces baptism provides, but I will pray for you and yours, L. You are not indifferent to God, that shows by you being here fighting against Him. And that is better than indifference.


  99. Yikes, I feel like I'm stepping into someone else's argument.

    Its funny because I didn't really understand until now that the difference between Christians and Liberals is SEX.

    Barbara said it perfectly: "Feed the hungry...sounds good, clothe the naked...gotcha, personal relationship with the Creator, excellent, respect for the dignity of all human beings, sounds great, sex limited to a fruitful marital relationship...wait, what?"

    I know you were kind of mocking us, but WOW what a perfection description!

    I think what L is alluding to is: Liberals and Christians have SO MUCH in common. Liberals want the poor to have food, want the sick to have healthcare, they want the earth protected, they want hatred and bigotry banished, they want AIDS stopped in its tracks, slavery abolished, they want people to be happy and have strong relationships with their loved ones and friends.

    You may snicker as this, but this is what being a liberal means to me, honestly! Liberals want peace on earth! Catholics want peace on earth. I think what L wants, what I want, is to focus on these things these are such important things these are things we agree on.

    Now the things we don't agree on; sex…seems like such a minute thing in comparison to I don’t know child slavery, but clearly its not because people on both sides are very attached to "their" sex, ha.

    I think what confuses liberals, what confuses me is: the liberals did not create pre-marital sex. Devout Christians have pre-marital sex, people who were raised to wait until marriage have sex, see Bristol Palin.

    I understand you see one truth about sex. I even understand that it may be THE truth but it must be accepted by each and every individuals for it to mean anything to them and thus to be effective. When I was 16 I never ever thought about actually having sex with my boyfriend, I had no idea that it was allowed, I thought I was way too young. And it never crosses my mind as something I could do. My sister was the exact opposite at that age. Despite being raised in the same household with the same instruction she took different liberties. She was taught the same values but she didn’t believe them, something no one could make her do, something we could never make anyone do.

    Liberals tout birth control and conservative preach abstinence, and both have failed miserably. The north has high abortion rates the south has high teen pregnancy rates if we are honest with ourselves neither approach is working particularly well..

  100. college student, you must understand one more thing: It's not about "outcome". Mother Teresa famously said, "God does not ask us to be successful, only faithful." We are to be faithful to God, even if the whole world hates and mocks us. Even if we find no "earthly" gain in it. We are living for God and for the dignity of our own humanity, and others' dignity as well. We are to love no matter the cost. And love means obedience, humility and heroic virtue. "In Christ we live and move and have our being", and in Him we find the peace that surpasses all human understanding. We wait for Him to say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

    It's not about outcome. It's about becoming a saint. The world needs a lot of things, but the one thing it needs far above all else, is more saints. We are striving for sanctity.

  101. Mother Teresa also famously said of herself and the sisters: "We are not social workers". They are brides of Christ. They worked for love of others all because of their undying love for Christ, their Spouse. Christians do all for Christ, and we leave the outcome up to God.

  102. Okay Leila - you're speechless. You can't possibly understand how stereotypes damage dialog. The Catholic church is infallible. Your god and church is the truth. I am consistently misunderstanding things or getting it all wrong if we come to an impasse. Okay.

    Just let all the other Christians know and make sure you are all on the same page before you use the umbrella term "Christian" - there are a few sects, you know. "A" proves this by pointing out how wrong it is that my children are baptized. Apparently the Methodists disagree.

    And - I never said religious people weren't charitable to all - I was making a point of saying how regular local people would just choose their "pet" charity (if that) if we left it up to them. This is a POLICY/POLITICAL statement, not a knock on religious charity.

    I don't believe in your god. I am not fighting against him. I think that anyone who thinks they know the big answer of existence, oblivion and eternity is - well, very presumptuous, to say the least.

    I tried to get with you a little. But meh. I don't know what I was hoping for. Maybe a little common ground? Maybe a little hope that we can all live on this Earth together without war. We could think of some policy adjustments that would be a start. But you don't want the start. You want the ends right away.

    What points do you want me to address?

    I get the abortion fight with what you believe. But the sexuality nonsense is just not going to fly. Policy wise, It will be something you will have to compromise on.

    Sex is for procreation, but as far as human beings it is also used for social purposes. The genitals turn on before puberty. Puberty begins earlier than the time we should be reproducing. The sex drive is a strong physical, psychological and sociological urge. Human beings need it. It creates bonds, establishes your place in a social network. It is bigger than simple willpower and "morality" can overcome (except in some rare cases) There never was a time when everyone had Catholic values, except for when the church reaped revenge for their persecution and forced everyone else into their way of thinking. With fire. And sharp things. Whole cultures were burned asunder. All the knowledge, the libraries, the life before Christianity.Some folks are still a bit bitter about that (though I am not, I do wince when you gloss over this part of history.)But even during that time, people could not stop having sex outside of the Catholic paradigm.Why? Because God thinks sex is a great way to test us all to be good?

    (more coming)

  103. I would like to reduce unwanted pregnancy for starters. Then abortion, too. But I will never agree in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother that the woman should be forced to go through with the pregnancy. If you made abortion illegal across the board, those women's deaths would be on your hands.

    I also feel that while life begins at conception, there is a difference between replicating cells, an underdeveloped fetus, a term fetus and a baby. I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks and my most recent baby was in the NICU for 5 days after his birth. I would miscarry a thousand times before I lost him.

    So that is my official position. You want abortions illegal, so what will be the woman's prison term if she gets an illegal abortion? Death row for murder? Have you thought about any of these little things? Do you think that by making abortion illegal we'll all see the "light" and our bodies will relinquish their sexuality to your morality? What will your move accomplish?

    This is why I believe we need to work on young women and self-esteem and responsibility and try to reduce unwanted pregnancy instead of declaring abortion illegal. It won't work. It never did. But whatever - regress to your "pre 1930's" which was the roaring 20's. Don't think that is the decade for your lot, either.

    PS - College Student - you are awesome. I am so inspired by an intelligent and honest young woman! You get your education and follow your heart. Life is a journey, not a destination. I thin that is true with "God" as well.

    Goodnight and good luck!


  104. Above is part two! My 1st comment is in spam


  105. L.,

    "I tried to get with you a little. But meh. I don't know what I was hoping for. Maybe a little common ground? Maybe a little hope that we can all live on this Earth together without war. We could think of some policy adjustments that would be a start. But you don't want the start. You want the ends right away."

    You keep saying this stuff, but Leila has NEVER SAID IT. Where are you getting it from?

    "So that is my official position. You want abortions illegal, so what will be the woman's prison term if she gets an illegal abortion? Death row for murder? Have you thought about any of these little things? Do you think that by making abortion illegal we'll all see the "light" and our bodies will relinquish their sexuality to your morality? What will your move accomplish?"

    *sigh* L., please. Do you HONESTLY think no pro-lifer has ever thought about the above? Really?

    Let me ask you this: what prison terms were customary for women who procured abortions prior to the Roe v. Wade decision?

    Making rape and murder illegal haven't stopped them, either. But if nothing else, they've made society realize that rape and murder are always wrong, even if people still commit those acts.

  106. JoAnna, thank you. I don't even know what to say to respond to your last two comments, L, so I'm glad JoAnna took a couple of my thoughts and put them out there for me.

    I seriously still am speechless. I keep thinking, "Is she reading a different blog?" Why is she ascribing things to me that I never said or even implied, then insults my intelligence (and all prolifers) by asking if we had "ever thought of these things" and then trashes the Catholic Church again and again as if she were reading a Jack Chick tract.

    I honestly find so many errors and misrepresentation in your monologue that I wouldn't know where to begin. So, I will remain....speechless. And very, very sad.

  107. " If you made abortion illegal across the board, those women's deaths would be on your hands. "

    I have known women who were told they could not have children, that it was too dangerous. Yet children they had and they are fine. I also have a friend who was pregnant and full term, went into labor and died giving birth (baby died, too.) The warning signs just weren't there, other than she had diabetes but her doctors did not foresee the dangers or predict the toxemia that ended up taking her and her child's life. I have known women who aborted, but it was always because it was inconvenient-I have just never met a woman who got pregnant and had an abortion because it was either her or the kid that would die.

    How common is this?

    Can anyone show me an instance of a woman being told to abort because it was too much of a health risk for her to carry a baby to term, her carrying that baby to term, and dying? Please, just show me some stats or something.

    Society tells women who are raped that they should probably abort. And they do. Then society is able to move on and the women who just suffered from rape now have to live with the fact that they just took a human life. Whose hands are responsible for all of these innocent victims? The women now have to deal with rape AND murder. Two wrongs not a right do they make.

    How common is pregnancy from rape? Stats, please? I would submit God is trying to make something good come of something bad in the case of a baby coming out of rape.

    Those who don't abort and whose children are now called "products of rape" are also told by society that they are lucky to be alive. They grow up feeling less than fully human because their lives are not as valued by society. I dated a "product of rape" and now have a child by him. I know the issues that can be carried around for a lifetime, I've seen the pain.

    PS. L, Catholics are against the death penalty. In my humble opinion, if abortion were illegal, women would be more chaste. At the very least, more choosy. And just because some women would still get "back alley" abortions is no reason to keep them legal. "Back alley" rape is no reason to make rape legal, much less any other crime on humanity.

  108. Leila & JoAnna = then tell us all what would happen if you made abortions illegal.What is the plan?

    I am not trashing the church. I am being matter-of-fact. If you deny things like the reformation and the crusades, and later the witch hunts you are delusional. If you deny the church ever burned cultures to the ground, you are delusional. The church is not all bad and has done great things. I have said so repeatedly. But sometimes you act as if you have no idea why people might be offended or a little frightened by Christians lobbying together to change public policy.

    How am I misrepresenting? Speechless means I stumped you somehow and I am not sure how.

    When I offered to come to the middle, you did outright say you couldn't meet me halfway because we are in a spiritual culture war. You said you weren't at war with "me" but with Satan. Therefore you implied that Satan has compromised me and the "liberal" base. Therefore we are on the side of Satan and you the side of God. Yes? Am I misunderstanding?

    So being at war with my beliefs and way of life means you are at war with me. Or am I Satan's hapless pawn? Am I a victim?

    I dug at Christianity because of "A"s comment about baptizing my children.BTW, but it wouldn't hurt to get yourselves sorted because not every Christian believes the same "truth." Or is that not true? Are Catholics and Protestants and Baptists all the same? Do they all get along? If they do, I have been misinformed.


  109. L,
    concerning the life of the mother:
    The Church teaches that one may legitimately choose to carry out an act that is morally good, but which has one or more unintended side effects that are morally evil. The principle of double effect has several guideline that must be met for an act to be morally acceptable:

    - The intended act must be good in itself. The intended act may not be morally evil.

    - The good effect of the act must be that which is directly intended by the one who carries out the act. The bad effect that results from the act may be foreseen by the agent but must be unintended.

    - The good effect must not be brought about by using morally evil means.

    - The good effect must be of equal or greater proportion to any evil effect which would result.

    - Acts that have morally negative effects are permissible only when truly necessary, i.e., when there are no other means by which the good may be obtained.

    As an example of how these criteria are applied to contemporary issues, consider a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy, i.e., one in which the pre-born child has become implanted in a place other than the uterus. In most ectopic pregnancies, the pre-born child has become implanted in one of the mother's Fallopian Tubes, which normally transport unfertilized eggs. Because the Fallopian Tubes are very small and narrow, implantation within one of them presents serious problems. The growing child will eventually rupture the mother's tube and cause a life-threatening situation. If the situation is left untreated, both mother and child will likely die.

    By the time an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed, the life of the pregnant mother is usually already in danger. If the Fallopian Tube is not already ruptured when the pregnancy is diagnosed, a person applies the principle of double effect to make a morally acceptable course of action. In this case, a person has two legitimate options: 1. Remove the entire Fallopian Tube or 2. Remove a portion of the tube at the site of implantation.

    The side effect of any of these procedures is the death of the unborn child; yet this end is not the end which the mother or physician intends or chooses. Direct attacks on an unborn child are always forbidden, as in an elective abortion which intends the death of the child. If the death of a child was not the intended effect, an abortion would just be an early means of delivering a child. However, abortion is an evil means that attempts to bring about some good end, real or perceived. Therefore, shelling out the child from the damaged tube as a means of "medical" treatment is equivalent to an abortion, which is morally unacceptable. The death of the child would be the means of "medical" treatment.

    If you allow and justify the direct killing of a pre-born child involved in an ectopic pregnancy, then you thereby justify other direct killings of pre-born children via other means. In contrast, removing part or all of the Fallopian Tube is not an abortion. These treatments are morally permissible because they meet all of the conditions of the principle of double effect. The morally good end which is directly sought is to save the life of the mother. That which is directly treated is the life-threatening damaged tissue of the tube; therefore, the child is not directly attacked. Removal of the damaged tube or a portion of the tube that contains the child is morally permissible, because the death of the child is an effect which may be foreseen, but it is unintentional. The good end of saving the mother's life is proportionate to the unintended evil side effect, that of the unborn child's death. [2] Further, because there are no other means by which the mother's life may be saved, the principal of necessity also applies. There are no other medical procedures that can save both mother and child.

  110. L., I ask you again: what was the typical jail term for a woman who procured an abortion prior to Roe v. Wade? If you don't know, it shows you haven't studied the issue and are relying on propaganda and fear-mongering by the pro-"choice" lobby.

    To answer your larger question, I direct you to this article: States Didn’t Put Women in Jail for Abortions Before Roe, Won’t if Overturned

    Also, regarding back-alley abortions and so on and so forth, I direct you to this excellent information from Abortion by the Numbers

    If you deny things like the reformation and the crusades,

    Deny that they happened? No. Denying your flawed and biased historical perspective of them? Yes.

    and later the witch hunts you are delusional.

    Newsflash: the witch hunts in Salem were conducted by PROTESTANTS. Not Catholics. You have to blame your own forbears for that one.

    If you deny the church ever burned cultures to the ground, you are delusional.

    I am unaware of the Catholic Church ever teaching that it was morally acceptable to "burn a culture to the ground," nor am I unaware of the Church ever sanctioning same. Proof, please? A Vatican document condoning or ordering such burning would suffice.

    The church is not all bad and has done great things. I have said so repeatedly. But sometimes you act as if you have no idea why people might be offended or a little frightened by Christians lobbying together to change public policy.

    Are you really surprised, given the atrocities committed under atheist regimes, when we are equally frightened of a secular society taking control?

    Simply put, what you're scared of is a caricature of the Catholic Church, not the real thing. I was once on the outside of the Church and thought the same things you did. But once I starting doing some research, I discovered all I "thought" I knew about the Church was wrong, and I started realizing just how beautiful it was.

    I would never go back to my liberal Lutheran days, not for a million bucks.

  111. *"nor am I aware of the Church ever sanctioning same," rather.

  112. College Student. I take your point. I apologize if I seemed to be mocking you or any other leftist with the comment about sex. I wasn't really trying to be mocking, just exaggerating to make a point. (I have a hyperbolic disorder :))

    Sex does seem like a small thing in comparison with the fullness of Catholic life. I can't tell you how many times I have heard the comment "I was Catholic but I left the Church because I disagreed with their stance on homosexuality/abortion/birth control" I say "That's it? you've given up the living presence of God in the Eucharist and the deep wisdom of 2000 years pondering the human question for that?"...You stared the Saving Lord in the face, and said "Lord, I love you, but I love genital stimulation ya."

    I KNOW there's more to it than that, emotions, and identities all caught up in sexuality but truly, and I speak from my heart as a convert who was dead and now am alive, nothing, absolutely nothing would make me give up my faith. My faith filled me up when I was empty, barren and alone. It plucked me out of the wind and set me on the ground. If preserving that life-giving and life-saving relationship means obeying some church laws, then I will obey them. I don't want to be without Him ever.

    L. You've probably heard this before but for Christians, the "war" is not against people, its against ideas and actions that, maybe in the short view seem to solve a problem, but in the long view, are detrimental to humanity. Christianity is all about separating acts and ideas from people. Chesterton has a great quote about this in his book Orthodoxy 'scuse the length:

    Take another case: the complicated question of charity, which some highly uncharitable idealists seem to think quite easy. Charity is a paradox, like modesty and courage. Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things -- pardoning unpardonable acts, or loving unlovable people. But if we ask ourselves (as we did in the case of pride) what a sensible pagan would feel about such a subject, we shall probably be beginning at the bottom of it. A sensible pagan would say that there were some people one could forgive, and some one couldn't: a slave who stole wine could be laughed at; a slave who betrayed his benefactor could be killed, and cursed even after he was killed. In so far as the act was pardonable, the man was pardonable. That again is rational, and even refreshing; but it is a dilution. It leaves no place for a pure horror of injustice, such as that which is a great beauty in the innocent. And it leaves no place for a mere tenderness for men as men, such as is the whole fascination of the charitable. Christianity came in here as before. It came in startlingly with a sword, and clove one thing from another. It divided the crime from the criminal. The criminal we must forgive unto seventy times seven. The crime we must not forgive at all. It was not enough that slaves who stole wine inspired partly anger and partly kindness. We must be much more angry with theft than before, and yet much kinder to thieves than before. There was room for wrath and love to run wild.

  113. Barbara, thank you! Oh, he says it so well. I don't know if L was here to read this, which is my ineloquent way of saying something similar:

    L, as to why I am speechless: I look at the vast scope of what you said in these last few comment, from your comments about conservatives, to your comments on the Church and her history, to the comments about doctrine, and sin and "did I ever think of" this and that and all the rest.... And I think to myself, Where do I begin?? There are so many points to be refuted, so much history to be clarified, so many insults to sort through, so many misrepresentations to correct, so much basic misunderstanding that I can only sit here and think: I don't have time to address this all!

    I wish I had the time and especially the mental energy to address every last misrepresentation of the Church and of my position that you have made, but I fear this has already become simply a multiplication of words. I took a long time to write this post to begin with (as I wrote the post, I knew it was too lengthy), and then when I saw your first and only question in response to it was "What is a liberal?", I think I should've figured out then that you were cracking this discussion open as wide as the ocean. And I just don't have the energy to be that unfocused. I need to focus like a laser beam and get to the point.

    I don't sense that we would get anywhere, even if I took the many, many hours it would take to respond to all you've thrown out there.

    If you want to ask me one question at a time, that would be one way to continue this conversation. Just one, so I can answer without giving up a whole night's sleep. And then we can move to another question, which would be great. I am willing to answer one question at a time. But to expect people to answer when you throw out all the standard old anti-Catholic canards, some common misconceptions, and then throw in the kitchen sink to boot, is unreasonable.

    I hope that in some way you can understand what I am saying.

  114. If this is your first question:

    Leila & JoAnna = then tell us all what would happen if you made abortions illegal.What is the plan?

    The "plan" would be to charge any doctor or nurse performing the illegal procedure (the killing of the unborn child). I will leave the penalties up to the state, just as with any other illegal act.

    Next question?

  115. Shucks,
    I was really being drawn onto the catholic side until I heard this and I cringed in horror

    “In my humble opinion, if abortion were illegal, women would be more chaste. At the very least, more choosy.”

    A, why do you think women should be chaste, shouldn’t we all be chaste?

    I know you guys aren’t much for compromising but if you ever did want to get more liberal support, start focusing on men! Talk about their chastity. Talk about how sexual intercourse is much more designed for the male orgasm than the female orgasm. Ask women why they want to engage in casual sex when the purpose is male orgasm, talk about how men in committed relationships are better more giving lovers, I know that seems risqué, but seriously try it! I so desperately want to come on to your side pretty please make it a little easier.

    PS A’s comment makes me want to go out and have sex because I can. The idea that women “should” be chase pisses me off for some reason. Leila’s comments make me have reverence for my body and make me question the ‘true’ nature of sex…just saying

  116. "
    I know you guys aren’t much for compromising but if you ever did want to get more liberal support, start focusing on men! Talk about their chastity. Talk about how sexual intercourse is much more designed for the male orgasm than the female orgasm. Ask women why they want to engage in casual sex when the purpose is male orgasm, talk about how men in committed relationships are better more giving lovers, I know that seems risqué, but seriously try it! I so desperately want to come on to your side pretty please make it a little easier."

    College Student,

    If it's any consolation, my husband and I volunteer for our parish's marriage prep program, and we give a talk on Intimacy and Sexuality (we've given it 3 times now). And we are always very, very blunt and go over everything you say above. Granted, it may be preaching to the choir in some cases... but in other cases not. And if what we say plants a seed, maybe their sons will get told the same. I can tell you that MY son will be told this, too, as well as my daughters (when they're old enough, of course).

    I absolutely agree with you, 100%.

  117. Leila,
    I don’t want to put words in L’s mouth so I apologize if that’s what I’m doing but I think she is puzzled by your inability to compromise.

    I know you don’t believe in compromise when the stakes are great. This is respectful in some aspect, but I believe we need to have a discussion about abortion in the world we live in, not the world that probably never existed.

    Pre-marital sex is not going away, (hell 20% of the abortions are with married people) I know Joana just because something isn’t going away doesn’t mean we can condone it, but sex, is not as you compare it to, like murder or rape. This is not my opinion, this is not L’s opinion but pre-marital sex will never go away: so the question at hand is how do we deal with abortion in a sexually saturated culture? That is until we make the culture less-sexually saturated.

    Please please we need to answer that question? You may say that as long as culture is obsessed with sex there will be abortion. My reply to that is, oh well I guess there will always be abortion.

    I really really am not trying to criticize anyone’s values but I think there is a solution here. We live in the age of convenience. I can pay for Starbucks with my I-phone. We aren’t going back to the pre-contraceptives ages without a fight. At the very least you need to re-brand pro-life. Pretty please even though I’m pro-choice I’m really routing for you.

  118. college student, absolutely!! We just had a class for teen boys and their dads here (and girls and their moms in the other room), and it was all about sex and chastity and how to be a real man (i.e., like a Knight in shining armor, who reveres women!).

    We absolutely teach our boys chastity and reverence, respect for the woman. I agree totally!

    I think A was speaking as a woman, to women. We understand as women that we will always (unfortunately!) bear the brunt of the burden and pain of a pregnancy out of wedlock. We are the ones with the baby in our body, and we are the ones who could legally choose to abort (the boy has no say). So, I do believe she was talking as a female to others who understand.

    I am so happy to have you come on over to our side... You will like it here! It's so beautiful! I still pinch myself, 16 years later!

    I want to find you some really good reading on the truth and meaning of human sexuality. Maybe I'll even mail you a book I have, called The Thrill of the Chaste, by a woman who lived a "sex in the city" type lifestyle, and then became Catholic.... If you want it, it's yours!

  119. College student, there really is no way to "allow" some killing of unborn children. We are either all human or none of us is. There will always be abortion, it's true, but that doesn't mean it should be legal. The way we dealt with it in the past was a LOT more adoption. There are MILLIONS of couples waiting to adopt, but women choose to abort their child almost always over adoption. Also, helping them parent. That's what all the organizations we talked about do. Lots of options, but killing an innocent can never be an option for a civilized society. Never. There really is no compromise on innocent human life. Someone has to fight for those wee ones, because the womb has gone from being the safest place to a killing field. Not cool.

    And on a lighter note, Uh-oh, you'd better watch out, because as Chesterton says:

    It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair.

    Here's what will really sink you: Ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you. Pray that, and then keep learning. You will be amazed at where you find yourself a year from now.... :)

  120. But college student, I'm willing to listen. What kind of compromise are you talking about? Give me a for instance.

  121. The reason why late term abortion has remained legal is political, not medical. Here is a summary of that decision:

    To summarize- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sent a draft message to the White House concerning their position on partial birth abortion for the life of the mother: "[A] select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which [the partial-birth] procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman." The White House then got involved (under Clinton) and suggested the ACOG change its wording, to something completely different, which they did.

  122. College Student,

    By all means lets talk to the guys about being chaste. I will certainly teach my sons that their wives deserve all of them and they deserve all of their wives. I was speaking from my own experience as a woman...when it comes down to it, the woman is usually in the position to decide whether the act will take place, because quite frankly, men are pretty much always ready to go. My deacon was speaking to a group of men and women this weekend and brought up the point that we are, in fact, made differently. There is something to a man's hormones that makes him stronger, faster, and yes, more sexually inclined.

    However, I do disagree with you that sex is more about getting the man to orgasm. I understand that statistics say lots of women can't orgasm, but I can only speak for myself on this---when you're emotionally involved 100%, open to life, and giving yourself fully during the sexual union, orgasms are just as much a part of your experience as they are the man's. I don't know how scientifically accurate my statements are, I'd just be willing to bet that Catholics who are open to life have some of the most amazing mutually beneficial sex out there, with no negative side morning after regret, no doubts about, is he gonna like me now, was I good, etc etc etc...

    Believe me, I would love for men and women alike to be equally chaste. But my husband and I could have a conversation about how our insurance hasn't kicked in, our baby is still too small, we're not getting enough sleep, and perhaps we should wait a few months before we make love during those 3 or 4 days of fertility in the month. But the second I let on that I was slightly interested on one of those crucial days, he would be all over it, ready to go. And I would be taking pregnancy tests wondering if I should skip that glass of wine.

    Do you get what I'm saying? I'm not blaming women for abortions and I think men who support their women having abortions should be ashamed of themselves for not loving the woman enough to want to keep whatever comes from that love and cherish it. It is the woman who will think about that baby around it's would-be birthday for the rest of her life. It is the woman who will ponder in her heart about what the baby would have looked like, would it have been a boy or a girl, what would his/her personality have been like, etc. I just want the woman to save herself some heartache.

  123. Thank you, Monica.

  124. A,

    Slightly off topic, but you touched upon your arousal during sex, and (sorry for being vulgar, but I cannot figure out how to word it without using a technical term) but I have never once been able to have an orgasm with my husband without manual involvement, and I have been with him for over 20 years. The fact that this is considered a mortal sin by the Church, is unfathomable to me. Even if it is always done in the context of having intercourse with the purpose of having a child with him. To be perfectly honest, the older I get, the less I could care if it happens either way, but he gets so much joy and happiness out of helping me get there, and is so honestly dejected if he cannot, that I cannot see how it is sinful at all. He is a faithful and loving man with a generous nature and a tender heart.

  125. A, to add to that, I like what Dennis Prager says about this (he does a lot on men's sexuality). He says that men and women have different "natures" that they fight (I would call them part of our fallen natures): Men have to fight the urge (which is constant) to be a sexual "predator" (take that the right way, please!!! It means that men's innately want to find a way to have sex, pretty much all the time. They are driven by it in a way that women simply cannot understand). It takes a huge amount of self-discipline and virtue to fight and control that urge, every single day.

    Women's fallen "nature" that we fight every day is primarily a nature of "worry". We worry all the time. We analyze, are anxious, are worried about things. We are not generally wired to go find sexual partners. We are worriers!

    Both of these fallen "natures" (not speaking theologically, so don't get me wrong) are a huge part of what each sex has to overcome. Women and men are NOT the same, and generally speaking, our interior battles are different.

    When it comes to sex, women are the "gate-keepers" so to speak, because most men will go ahead with even the slightest invitation, as you mentioned. Married or not, prudential or not. Men fight that battle, which is why this sex-obsessed, porn-laden culture is toxic to men who are trying to control themselves and use sex in an ordered way.

    Just my opinion.

  126. The fact that this is considered a mortal sin by the Church, is unfathomable to me.

    Mary, this is NOT a mortal sin!! This is perfectly fine!! Please let me know that you read this comment. I would be horrified to think that you are under that impression!!!!

  127. Also, thank you Monica.


  128. Mary, if you don't tell me you got my comment, then I'm gonna have to write a whole post on that, and please don't make me, ha ha ha!!!

    Let me know!

  129. Thanks for expanding on that, Leila. Some segments of society have worked long and hard to convince women that there are no differences between sexes. I embrace those differences and think they are wonderful! This doesn't put me in an oppressed or lesser position than men. I feel beautiful and empowered! True feminism embraces femininity! I love that we are the gatekeepers!

    Mary, thank you for sharing that and no, there is nothing wrong with your husband pleasing you in that way during the act! I love that your satisfaction and pleasure is important to your hubby and that's vital! :)

    I think what I was trying to get across is that the more comfortable, physically and emotionally a woman feels during sex, the more likely it is that she will orgasm. Practicing Catholic women have everything working in their favor.

  130. "Deny that they happened? No. Denying your flawed and biased historical perspective of them? Yes."

    I never told you my perspective, JoAnna. I merely broached the topic. How would you know I have a biased and flawed historical perspective?

    Salem? Oh no, honey. Nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition. ;)

    Let me be clear one last time. (Or try to) I believe people who are devoted to GOD are good. The concept of religion : Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, yes MUSLIM, Pagan, Wiccan, and every other sect (with a few creepy exceptions) tries to be a better person through serving "god."

    I believe Christian theology and teachings are good and peaceful and loving. (How is that for biased and flawed?) Again, I baptize my children (even though A thinks I shouldn't).

    What I am trying to get through to all of you is that POLITICIANS make WAR and use your RELIGION to scare you into thinking it is necessary. Sorry, JoAnna & Leila, but the Church - Catholic, Protestant, etc has a history of getting in bed with rulers and - YES - burning cultures down so that every citizen is on the same page and can be controlled. (Excuse me for not having the Bishop's papyrus scroll in hand, but I am not going to run around gathering up all the footnotes for this little comment thread.) They have even killed one another for believing in "god" in slightly different ways.

    (part two next)

  131. If the people who were involved in the church and who ran things were never corrupted, no one would have left the church and you wouldn't need the "Catholics Come Home" campaign. But you have it because you want modern Catholicism to be different, yes? Different NOT in theology, but different as in trying to keep the religious aspect pure without human corruption. Am I wrong? We don't want nasty old nuns thwapping students. We don't want sex guilt and the over-focusing on "whores and sluts" - And please, don't say that never existed. You are too young to have gone through it. I have two parents and 11 aunts and uncles who could tell you different.My mother remains damaged from a bad incident regarding this.

    Does that mean Catholicism is bad? No. But it means the political sentiment that girls are tempting harlots got mixed up in the idea of Catholic chastity. So to say "The church never teaches..." may be correct, but the church has not done a good enough job of keeping in line those who represent it. I feel the same way for the sex abuse scandal.

    Were the nuns all bad? No. I had an awesome nun when I was in Jr High - she is still one of my favorite teachers to this day. But again, I went to Catholic school in the 80's.

    Enough of that. College Student got my point crystal clear.

    I feel that when politics starts mixing with religion, you get stereotyping an fear of the other side.But you expressed bewilderment because I was not going tit for tat on abortion. I told you my feelings above. They are nuanced.

    All in all, I do like the idea of strong women, accountable men and prudent sexual decisions. But I don't believe we see eye to eye on what sexuality is. So I can't follow you all the way to your religion's "logical conclusion."

    A said "the more comfortable, physically and emotionally a woman feels during sex, the more likely it is that she will orgasm. Practicing Catholic women have everything working in their favor."

    I believe this wholeheartedly. But any woman who has grown up and is with a loving partner has this working in her favor as well. Also freedom from worry about pregnancy does make sex better and more intimate - Absolutely!

    However, how do you convince women who are afraid of getting pregnant to negate contraception and just "not be afraid of having babies." My point is you cannot expect people to simply give up sex. It has never worked. In my opinion because of what sexuality is at it's core. (what I believe)

    I sort of think society hyper-sexualizes women and some of you hypo-sexualize women. I like to live in the middle.

    But I have a life I must get back to. I didn't mean to upset you, Leila. But The god v. satan chess game for souls weirded me out a little. Sorry, I can't help it.

    Take care -

  132. What I am trying to get through to all of you is that POLITICIANS make WAR and use your RELIGION to scare you into thinking it is necessary.

    Scare us into thinking that what is necessary? Being involved in the public sphere and voting our conscience? Because that actually is necessary in order to be a good citizen.

    I cannot think for the life of me what else you could mean.

  133. And L, of course you don't see the battle as a spiritual one. We do, and our enemy is Satan, not "liberals".

    I'm out most of the day, but I will let others answer your other points, if not for your sake, then for the lurkers.


  134. PS: As someone who has lived through the weakness of the Church (American bishops) for the past forty years (check my reversion story), it makes me almost laugh when I think of the bishops somehow provoking us to a WAR of some kind! My goodness, if Catholics were not lukewarm in their faith, and if the bishops were strong and courageous, abortion would have never been legalized. We have over 60 million Catholics in this nation, and most are completely ignorant of their own faith, and of their obligations in the public square. So, that part of what you imply is just funny (and tragic) to me.....

  135. Okay - I am officially done here. I clarified the Satan thing earlier. Your 40 years and recent reversion trumps anyone else's laughable experiences with the Catholic church and schools. They don't know their own religion.

    I really wish I could pull my deceased grandfather from his tomb and ask him why he was a registered democrat. I guess the 92 yr old devout orthodox Catholic who spent his early adulthood in seminary school (long before it all went too mamby pamby for you)and of whom the priest said, "I couldn't believe he subscribed to the magazines we priests subscribe to. I was awed by him and his faith and his knowledge," at his funeral. I guess he didn't get the "what you have to do in the public square" memo.Guess he didn't know his religion. HA!

    Bishops burnt people in the past, Leila. Politicians incite faith wars. I don't know how I could be any clearer.

    But that's not the problem here. The problem is you believe your position is infallible. It is the only right and objective truth. If you see nothing in what I am saying here...

    Over and out.(For realsies)

  136. Um, L, Catholics were traditionally Democrats. Because Democrats were classical liberals. Today, Democrats are not classical liberals.

    Oh, my.

    It's like everything I say is not heard.

    Oh, well.

    Thanks for your time, L, it's been informative.

  137. College Student - sorry I have not read all the posts here, but just wanted to respond to the education model comment. I too was raised in an "education comes first." My mother, and RN, was fairly liberal and feminist (although now she is disillusioned by liberalism, but still authentically feminist) and my father is conservative, Catholic (a professional with a JD married to another professional).

    I have to say that I still believe education is very important as does my conservative father. In fact, he wanted me to go to graduate school in Europe not long ago (I almost went but there were some logistics there that got in the way AND yes, I did have my now-husband here. To be clear, the degree I was supposed to get in Europe was a master's in Theology of Marriage and Family - much more intellectual than it sounds :)) - but I felt that in my situation it was better to discern a marriage vocation than just study marriage. Does that make sense? In other words, if it was a master's degree in say, science, I would have approached it differently).

    All that to say, I think you would find that many conservatives value higher education and waiting for marriage. Especially Catholics who tend to be an intellectual sort. :) My dh's family (conservative Catholics) were appalled when a family friend's daughter rushed into engagement at age 17 (the engagement did not work out anyway).

    I think when you're living an authentically *Catholic* life, you see God's will above all else, which looks different across families and individuals. I married at 29... hardly "early" (in fact, I was "late" even by our more liberal leaning cultural norms :)). That was God's plan for my life, and yes I get very touchy when I hear people preaching that marrying younger is somehow the more godly thing to do. :)

  138. *Sorry for the typos! I was typing fast and on the run! :)

  139. He didn't vote for Bush, Leila. Unless modern liberalism started w/in the past five years.

    I knew him, you don't. Don't think you have him figured out. Or me for that matter.

  140. Mary (3-29-11, 7:12 AM),

    I'm also one of those women who can't reach orgasm without "help." My husband is MORE than happy to provide this help, and the Catholic Church is fine with both oral and manual stimulation, so long as we then make/are making love, which I'm MORE than happy to do when my husband has been so generous himself! To be very honest, though, orgasm isn't always at the top of my list-- the very act of self-giving and closeness is frequently more than enough for complete satisfaction. Think of it this way: the Catholic Church wants strong, healthy marriages. This involves marital sex, which needs to be mutually satisfying. There are no prudes here! I have my doubts that you can find many couples (outside of practicing Catholics) married for more than 5 years with at least a couple of kids who have sex for 10 or more days in a row each month, in addition to other scattered days, without the hassle of using contraception! That's what NFP does... just enough waiting time (and no need to make headache excuses!) to really get a woman revved up. :)

    The Church is very PRO-sex. Marital sex. As opposed to any other sex, which is then EXTRA-marital (pre-marital is extra-marital, obviously).

    --regular commenter who prefers to stay a bit anonymous for all this sexy talk!

  141. Phew, this news story made me so sad. Possibly fodder for a post, Leila?

  142. "I never told you my perspective, JoAnna. I merely broached the topic. How would you know I have a biased and flawed historical perspective?"

    For one thing, you're implying that the Inquisitions (there have been more than one -- another indication that you don't know what you're talking about) and the Crusades were evil in and of themselves. Moreover, you're confusing some of the evil things done in the name of the Inquisitions and the Crusades with the events themselves, both of which where the the exercise of legitimate civil authority (Inquisitions) and legitimate defense against foreign invaders (Crusades).

    "Salem? Oh no, honey. Nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition. ;)"

    If you're getting your historical facts from Monty Python, that explains a lot. ;)

    "Let me be clear one last time. (Or try to) I believe people who are devoted to GOD are good. The concept of religion : Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, yes MUSLIM, Pagan, Wiccan, and every other sect (with a few creepy exceptions) tries to be a better person through serving "god.""

    As the Catholic Church teaches, all religions have elements of truth, and people have inherent God-given worth and dignity (i.e., "goodness"). Whether their actions are good or not is another matter entirely.

    "I believe Christian theology and teachings are good and peaceful and loving. (How is that for biased and flawed?)"

    I was talking about your historical perspectives, not your theology.

    "Again, I baptize my children (even though A thinks I shouldn't)."

    As long as you're willing to abide by the promises you made to God when you baptized them, I take no issue with your decision to do so.

    "What I am trying to get through to all of you is that POLITICIANS make WAR and use your RELIGION to scare you into thinking it is necessary."

    Standing up for human life is always necessary, and that's a large part of the "culture war."

    "Sorry, JoAnna & Leila, but the Church - Catholic, Protestant, etc has a history of getting in bed with rulers and - YES - burning cultures down so that every citizen is on the same page and can be controlled."

    Don't confuse the infallible Church as an institution with the sinful, fallible people within the Church, who commit abuses in Her name. Jesus spoke clearly of the fate of those who say "Lord, Lord" but do not follow His commandments.

    "(Excuse me for not having the Bishop's papyrus scroll in hand, but I am not going to run around gathering up all the footnotes for this little comment thread.)"

    If you make the accusation, the burden of proof is on you to back it up. If you can't prove your libel, don't write it.

    "They have even killed one another for believing in "god" in slightly different ways."

    Once again, don't confuse the infallible Church as an institution with the sinful, fallible people within the Church, who commit abuses in Her name.

  143. L,
    Please don't think I'm condemning you for having your kids baptized...but the Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, ANY Christian Church expects you to be a faithful Christian when you have your children baptized, and they expect that you will raise your kids in said faith. The only reason I questioned you having your kids baptized is because baptizing our children is saying, "I believe in God and I want my children to grow up believing in and preaching the gospel." I am not a Methodist, but I assume they had you recite back to them some sort of profession of faith, as well as a promise before God that you would teach them the faith?

    "However, how do you convince women who are afraid of getting pregnant to negate contraception and just "not be afraid of having babies." My point is you cannot expect people to simply give up sex. It has never worked. In my opinion because of what sexuality is at it's core. (what I believe)"

    What DO you believe sexuality is at it's core? I'm sorry, I might have missed this from an earlier explanation.

    As far as your statement about convincing women to negate sexuality and not be afraid of children, that is where faith and trust (and NFP, 99% effective and completely safe and natural) come in. At some point our discussions hit a roadblock on every issue because faith must play a role, too.

    L, I think it's awesome that you have such an open mind because I know we sound like a bunch of crazies to the secular world. In fact, I bet 90% of non-Catholics would not be willing to have this discussion with us. Thank you.

  144. "If the people who were involved in the church and who ran things were never corrupted, no one would have left the church and you wouldn't need the "Catholics Come Home" campaign."

    Broken record here, but don't confuse the infallible Church as an institution with the sinful, fallible people within the Church, who commit abuses in Her name.

    "But you have it because you want modern Catholicism to be different, yes? Different NOT in theology, but different as in trying to keep the religious aspect pure without human corruption."

    No, we have it because those who leave the Catholic Church either didn't know what they were leaving or had a very warped perception of it (often through no fault of their own). Some leave because they were betrayed by members and/or clergy. The point of the CCH campaign is to encourage those who have left the Church to take another look and find out exactly what it was they left.

    "We don't want nasty old nuns thwapping students. We don't want sex guilt and the over-focusing on "whores and sluts" - And please, don't say that never existed. You are too young to have gone through it."

    All together now!

    Don't confuse the infallible Church as an institution with the sinful, fallible people within the Church, who commit abuses in Her name. (I should really put this to music.)

    Newsflash, L., that kind of stuff existed (and still exists) in Protestant circles too.

    "I have two parents and 11 aunts and uncles who could tell you different. My mother remains damaged from a bad incident regarding this."

    I'm sorry to hear that. I hope she has been able to find healing.

    "Does that mean Catholicism is bad? No. But it means the political sentiment that girls are tempting harlots got mixed up in the idea of Catholic chastity."

    I agree.

    "So to say "The church never teaches..." may be correct, but the church has not done a good enough job of keeping in line those who represent it. I feel the same way for the sex abuse scandal."

    I also agree. Church catechesis has been atrocious in the last 30-40 years.

    "Were the nuns all bad? No. I had an awesome nun when I was in Jr High - she is still one of my favorite teachers to this day. But again, I went to Catholic school in the 80's."

    I'm glad your teacher was a good one.

    "I feel that when politics starts mixing with religion, you get stereotyping an fear of the other side."

    I don't understand those who can keep religion out of their politics. If you believe, TRULY BELIEVE, in your religion, that it absolutely should influence EVERY aspect of your life. Every single one, politics as well. Otherwise, it's just a matter of time until the descent into moral relativism.

    "But you expressed bewilderment because I was not going tit for tat on abortion. I told you my feelings above. They are nuanced."

    Innocent babies are being put to death, and your feelings are "nuanced." If I were to say the same about, for example, the sex abuse scandals, you'd denounce me (and rightly so!) as a horrible, unfeeling person.

    "All in all, I do like the idea of strong women, accountable men and prudent sexual decisions."

    Me too!

    "But I don't believe we see eye to eye on what sexuality is. So I can't follow you all the way to your religion's "logical conclusion.""

    Ergo, moral relativism. Either Truth exists or it doesn't. If truth is only what we want it to be, how can we justify outlawing anything that might interfere with someone else's truth?

    (to be continued...)

  145. (continued from above...)

    "A said "the more comfortable, physically and emotionally a woman feels during sex, the more likely it is that she will orgasm. Practicing Catholic women have everything working in their favor."

    I believe this wholeheartedly. But any woman who has grown up and is with a loving partner has this working in her favor as well. Also freedom from worry about pregnancy does make sex better and more intimate - Absolutely!"

    Well, I was on the Pill for two years, and I've been doing NFP for seven (nearly eight). I can tell you that sex on the Pill was more inclined to the selfish than to the giving. With contraceptive sex, it's all about pleasure; with NFP, it's all about giving and receiving. The difference is noticeable and profound.

    "However, how do you convince women who are afraid of getting pregnant to negate contraception and just "not be afraid of having babies.""

    By teaching them NFP and giving them the confidence to use it.

    "My point is you cannot expect people to simply give up sex. It has never worked."

    There are thousands and thousands of Catholic clergy and religious to prove you otherwise (not to mention Buddhist monks). You hold people to too low a standard. Soft bigotry once again.

    "In my opinion because of what sexuality is at it's core. (what I believe)"

    I believe that people won't spontaneously combust if they don't regularly engage in sexual activity.

    "I sort of think society hyper-sexualizes women and some of you hypo-sexualize women. I like to live in the middle."

    I don't think we can make generalizations either way, frankly.

    "But I have a life I must get back to. I didn't mean to upset you, Leila. But The god v. satan chess game for souls weirded me out a little. Sorry, I can't help it."

    "The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he doesn't exist." - The Usual Suspects

  146. ...Which is why being familiar with Church doctrine is important when debating what is right or wrong with Catholicism.

    I wonder if people actually form opinions about Jesus based on the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church members who hold up hateful signs at funerals. Or if they consider the whole issue of religion to be confusing and problematic simply because groups like this exist, and therefore all religion becomes dismissable.

    That's like avoiding eating fruit because Fruit Loops doesn't seem all that healthy.

  147. "What I am trying to get through to all of you is that POLITICIANS make WAR and use your RELIGION to scare you into thinking it is necessary."

    L, no politician could ever scare me into thinking my religion is necessary. Conversion stories are another topic in and of themselves and they are always full of spiritual insights and private revelations. We have all experienced these things on a personal level, and I don't know Joanna from Leila from Nicole, I just found this blog a few months ago but I can GUARANTEE you they have all experienced something that cannot be credited to anything or anyone other than God. There is no turning back. And THAT is what convinced us we need our religion.
    For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
    nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.-Romans 8:38-39

  148. I'm late to the party. But if I understand it, L isn't a believer yet has her kids baptized.

    That's good, I suppose. But why?

    Why do you baptize your children?
    Part of the reason we baptize is to raise up our children in the faith. It's a sacrament that imparts grace to a soul and it is a grave responsibility on behalf of the parents to pass on their faith to their children. It's a spiritual inheritance and a gift, as we Catholics are taught.

    Why does someone with no real concern about God even bother? And do you realize that by doing so, you've got a load on your shoulders that is a spiritual load which requires a spiritual attitude and supernatural graces, for the good of your baptized children?

    One normally does not possess a consumeristic attitude about baptizing children. And being that your attitude toward religion is proud, one wonders why you do it at all?


  149. The flip side of not speaking up about the significance of chastity in single life is that those who WOULD consider it, find the beauty in it, and put it into practice wouldn't find the reasons to do so.

    I found many, many reasons to have sex outside of marriage. I'm very thankful for the people who pointed out the reasons to wait until marriage. Sure, most of the people who heard that message may have dismissed it. That's a sad reality, in my opinion. Thank you to everyone who enlightened me though, and gave me a deeper understanding of the issue than I had when I was growing up. (Just knowing "it's a sin - don't do it" really wasn't enough for me. Especially since I knew sins can be forgiven, and we all know we make sins anyway.)

  150. L, I never spoke for your grandfather. I am speaking generally. Generally, Catholics were Democrats, especially in our grandfathers' day. Democrats were definitely "for the underdog" and they did not violate any moral laws with their policy. The allegiance to party affiliation runs deep, and I know Catholics today (devout, daily mass-goers) who still are registered Democrats because they can't think of themselves as anything else, even though they cannot vote for almost any Democratic candidate. Sadly, the Dems have been losing Catholics for many years, since the Dem Party has decided to become the party of abortion. Many Catholics still hang on (mostly out of loyalty, and the whole "union"/underdog mentality), so I would expect that most elderly Catholics (and some not so old) would find it very difficult to change stripes. But many are changing. And many are becoming independent.

    I in NO WAY could or would speak for a man I don't know, but I do know the demographic shift of devout Catholics has been moving out of the Democratic Party. As I have said before, since the Dems have become the party of abortion and gay marriage, Catholics have found themselves politically homeless.

    Anyway, the fact that you would imply that I was trying to get in the mind of your grandfather and speak for him is more telling to me that you are reading into what I write and not looking at the actual words. This is why it is hard for me to dialogue with you. You are not listening, and it is frustrating to me.

  151. College Student, you said:

    "I know you guys aren’t much for compromising but if you ever did want to get more liberal support, start focusing on men! Talk about their chastity. Talk about how sexual intercourse is much more designed for the male orgasm than the female orgasm. Ask women why they want to engage in casual sex when the purpose is male orgasm, talk about how men in committed relationships are better more giving lovers, I know that seems risqué, but seriously try it! I so desperately want to come on to your side pretty please make it a little easier."

    We do talk about these things. They are a HUGE part of Natural Family Planning education. A HUGE part of how we raise our sons is encouraging chastity and respect for women. Any man who is willing to abstain from sex during the fertile period of his wife's cycle is showing great respect and chastity. At least in my marriage, my husband has to show much more deference to my sexuality due to NFP. Knowing someone is willing to sacrifice and wait for you can give a woman a sense of safety and security that makes other parts of the sexual relationship much more enjoyable than it might be otherwise.

    I'd also like you to think about why liberals don't talk about this. Why is the great solution to women in the 3rd world's problems birth control and abortion. These women are living in largely misogynistic cultures where they are often raped, even by their own husbands with little regard for their health, safety, or emotional well being. Feminists aren't campaigning for more respectful behavior from these men, they just scream for more access to birth control and abortion in these countries. How does birth control or abortion solve that? Liberals/feminists pat themselves on the back for essentially saying: "Your husband raped you? Here is an abortion now you can go home and be raped again. You're welcome. Here are some condoms. Now your husband who already disregards your dignity as a human being can have even more sex with you that you don't want. You're welcome. Here are condoms, maybe you can get your rapist to wear them. You're welcome." Have you ever thought about that? Wouldn't these women be better served by a philosophy that requires men to treat women with more respect rather than just treating the symptoms of the disrespect? Where are the liberals on that?

  152. Leila, You asked me what we should compromise on I am happy to answer. It’s so no much about compromising its really about MARKETING

    You have given many good reasons why you and Catholics believe in waiting until marriage and you can get society closer to that if you want but it will take baby steps.

    Sex will soon get a makeover (its starting already) but not because of Catholics or Liberals but because of STDS. While you may not like this, there are factually very many ways for a sexually active young woman to not get pregnant. There is abstinence sure, but there are pills condoms, NFP, pulling out, the morning after-pill, and these methods are most effective when they are combined. You can have sex and can easily avoid pregnancy.

    However STD’s are a different story. I am a fan of condoms, I think they help. But no one uses them for oral sex, which can spread STD’s. And condoms do not prevent against HPV, in fact you don’t even need to have sex to get HPV. Oral incidences of cancer are skyrocketing due to oral sex. Sex now causes cancer, oral sex causes cancer, and dry humping causes cancer. We as a society aren’t addressing this properly. Wait until your married falls on def ears, ‘but the have sex with whoever and use a condom’ is not a good strategy either.

    So what do we do: tell people to limit their number of partners, not in the name of judgment or chastity or in the name of health and security

    Liberals don’t like judgment, they don’t dislike facts. When I thought about how I was having sex and I didn’t even like it and even with a condom I was jeopardizing my fertility and potentially exposing myself to cancer…well lets just say abstinence sells itself. ☺

    My advice: brand this as health crises! chastity will make a comeback abortions will decrease.

    sorry for any typos I'm in class no time to read it over ha

  153. College Student-commenting from class. Classic. ;)

    L-I feel like your attitude has changed entirely since the comment thread on the last post. I wonder what happened.

    And to everyone who is weary and exasperated by this thread, here is something positive, at least from my perspective:

    This upcoming generation is one of great hope! I speak mostly of Catholic youth since that is who I know best, but I see it in all the kids I've known and worked with (many who aren't Catholic).

    In my various work with junior high, high school and college aged students, I find more and more of them are open to hearing and embracing the truth and beauty of human sexuality! Theology of the Body (a whole teaching on the meaning of the human body as it pertains to sexuality, written by Pope John Paul II) is exploding in this generation! They love it! Upon discovering their dignity and the beauty of their bodies and the depth of sexual love, they are more committed to chastity and God's design for marriage than any generation I've seen. Even many of my peers (I'm 26) have had conversions based on this incredible teaching. This truth in particular is so desirable to the young that it will cross over from just Catholics to Christians and beyond; I have no doubt about that. It will just take time.

    The youth are not afraid to challenge the status quo. They are not afraid of lives of virtue. They are not afraid to live God's design for sex, even if it means not having it until marriage (or living a life of celibacy for Christ!) A new marketing plan isn't really needed; the Truth is being taught in an effective way and it will effect the culture positively.

    This is good news for all of us here, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. STDs, unplanned pregnancies, abortion, divorce, and many other things we can all agree are negative will decrease in the coming generations because kids are embracing a virtuous view of sexuality more and more each day.

  154. I wonder why Planned Parenthood hasn't been pushing that argument. (That promiscuity leads to STD's and pregnancy, and women should take this into consideration when making choices in the bedroom.) Why does PP frown upon saying anything that may make a woman feel judged. Do we expect the same from our doctors regarding our health? Is it actually empowering to have basic facts withheld to protect our feelings?

    I think the reason Catholics don't focus on disease and unwanted pregnancy primarily when discussing sex is because it takes the focus off of the morality aspect, which we feel is of primary importance. If tomorrow something changed and unwanted pregnancies and STD's ceased to exist, I'd still feel the same way about sex, marriage &chastity.

    ON a side note, I really appreciate the diverse viewpoints in this discussion and I thian k everyone for taking the time to explain their unique points of view in the hopes of understanding and being understood. It's rare to see a debate on this topic not disintegrate into insults and personal attacks early on.

  155. Wow!! Thank you ALL. I seriously am just so impressed by the scope and depth of the conversation. And I want to comment on each and every comment, but I just can't at the moment. Please, please know how grateful I am to have somehow attracted such amazing people to this blog, from ALL persuasions! Do you know how rare it is to have civil (and profound) discussions on a blog like this, which tackles controversy??? Thank you, thank you!!!

    (If you knew the day I had today, which was like no other day so far in my life, you would be handing me a Bloody Mary and tiptoeing away quietly. I can't begin to explain how many awful things happened today in my community. And, it was my birthday, too. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Violet Nikas, for the comfort of her family, and for a special intention of mine, if you can spare it. Thank you!)

  156. Sorry to hear about your bad dey, Leila!

    I second what Sweet Jane said- the Church teaches morality, not health ed. Avoiding STDs is a "fringe benefit" of practicing sexual morality.

  157. Praying for you, Leila! Happy Birthday!

  158. College Student,

    Speaking of MARKETING:
    If you get a chance, watch the recently released documentary, Blood Money.
    Here is a quote about Marketing-

    “We had a whole plan that sold abortions and it was called sex education. Break down their natural modesty. Separate them from their parents and their values and become the sex expert in their lives so they’d turn to us. When we would give them a low dose birth control pill they would get pregnant on it, or a defective condom. Our goal was 3-5 abortions from every girl between the ages of 13 and 18.”
    -Carol Everett, a former abortion industry director who now exposes the truth of what goes on inside the abortion industry

  159. College Student - you are absolutely right that STDs are increasingly becoming a problem. Do you know where I learned the information you shared regarding STDs of the throat and mouth? From a Christian chastity educator 6 years ago. Chastity education is not just "Wait 'til you're married." It's about teaching the truth about our bodies. I get the impression that you have the wrong impression regarding how many of us approach the topic of sex in our communities.

  160. I'll echo what Sarah said about Christian sex education. In fact, in his talk "Romance without Regret" Catholic chastity educator Jason Evert spends about 15 minutes of the 80 minute talk discussing STDs and their consequences. The whole talk is on YouTube; Part 1 is here

  161. Happy Birthweek, Leila! Prayers coming your way.

  162. Happy Birthday Leila!

    College Student: Married at 29 after my fiancé and I finished graduate school. Yes living chastely thru my twenties was likely made easier by dating a like minded person. Joining Sara in witnessing to the do ability of seeking higher education and living according to God's will.

    Also very grateful for this forum

  163. I agree... the Theology of the Body for Teens that we taught for months included a whole class on STDs and the facts. It was a very compelling and fascinating class!

    Also, I do want to go on record as saying that although I have no problem with young marriage (assuming the maturity for marriage!), I also have no problem with later marriage, either. I have so many friend who married later. It's all good!

    And, yes, education is a VERY good thing. I expect all my kids to have university degrees (and beyond!). But, unlike when I was a young adult (when it would have been unthinkable for any right-thinking person NOT to put education first), I won't be devastated if they ultimately choose another route. I've changed my thinking so much on that. For me, I want them to be virtuous. If they are virtuous, they will be hard working, honest, and have a good life. And get to Heaven. ;)

  164. Just a side note about education,

    I think some of you think I'm under the impression that I'm the only one with a college degree! haha. even before you all shared your backgrounds with me I didn't think this was the case. Your personal education levels were never suspect.

    I thought I read that some of you said that it wasnt important to you that your children go to college. I was merely commenting that this was fundamentally different from anything I have ever heard a parent say before.

    I was also saying that the 'virgin till marriage' thing could make people marry younger which would make them have children younger which would make getting an MBA harder. I understand that the church doesn't sanction people getting married so 'they can do it' nor am i implying a 32 year-old couldn't be a virgin, I was just saying illustrating what I think to be a practical barrier to the wait till your marriage thing/no contraceptives idea

  165. Anonymous,

    I have seen the blood money trailer. I don't think a lot of pro-life is propaganda, but blood money is some of the worst most laughable propaganda I have ever seen. I cannot believe it has not been made into an SNL skit or something yet.

  166. Wait, I'm confused... if you've only seen the trailer, how can you call it propaganda? Wouldn't it be better to watch the actual film before making that judgment?

  167. College Student - I didn't read your comments about education as a question about our degrees. :) But I shared my story to make the point that conservatives (especially Catholics) highly value education and encourage their children to place it as a high priority. Like Leila said, though, virtue is the highest priority. I didn't read all the comments leading up to this, but I think that's what people mean when they talk about education not being the highest goal... it is a high goal, but not the highest of the high. :) Also, I think in our culture, there is an increasing tendency to question advanced degrees - not just among conservatives or religious. In light of the recession, many are asking if advanced degrees are financially the best route or even necessary to become an expert in certain realms.

    In regards to marrying young - again, didn't read all the comments, so I definitely wasn't trying to make anyone feel badly for voicing a preference for younger marriages. :) But College Student, I SO wanted to marry young! It just didn't work out for me, and a lot of singles (religious and not-so-religious) are frustrated at how difficult it can be to find that person to spend the rest of your life with. I think that while we need to be cautious about rushing into marriage too young, this isn't the most pressing issue of our time (although yes, it is an issue we need to be mindful of).

    I also think we need to teach our young ones to think long-term and really *weigh* timing, vocation, etc. For example, as a teen noone talked to me about how my future career choice may affect my ability to be a stay-at-home mom later (if that was my goal), or take care of myself should I remain single, etc. I was just taught to focus on my interests... not bad advice, but VERY incomplete advice. It is doable to marry, have children and get a Master's degree but people just need to be aware that that will be a different experience than say, marrying and never getting a degree.

    Of course, at the end of the day, each person's calling is unique to them, and sometimes we do have to just step out in faith b/c we can never know everything the future holds!

    FWIW - I hope to get that Master's degree someday (and dh is supportive), and I know many pursuing degrees after marriage and children (including my bil, who is entering law school this fall with 3 kiddos and a wife). Actually, having kids younger could really free a woman up to have a second career later in life. There are so many ways to achieve one's goals in the US!

  168. So much good stuff here. Leila, despite all my struggles with Catholicism, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment: "Men fight that battle, which is why this sex-obsessed, porn-laden culture is toxic to men who are trying to control themselves and use sex in an ordered way."

    I have three young sons, and having worked with adolescents and living in the stew of highly sexualized and violent media, I can tell you that I am worried. I think it is going to be near-to-impossible to guide them. It is so interesting, as the porn that I assume was available when I was younger and the amount of it, was nowhere near what is out there today. For example, I had never even seen or heard of any of my girlfriends or boyfriends watching pornography before I went to college and I remember walking in on a housemate and her boyfriend watching it.

    I was utterly stunned, confused, aroused (I'll admit), and weirded-out. They acted like it was totally normal, and cool, to be watching this in our living room (granted, they did not expect me and our other housemate to come home so early)....This was the same catholic school Leila attended! Now, I left in embarrassment rather quickly, but remember a little, and over the years after that was privy to some of the other stuff out there. It is unreal. How are you going to explain people having sex with pot-bellied pigs (a disgusting thing a friend of my brother-in-law's relayed around the internet) to a thirteen-year-old boy?

    Some questions:
    a) Do you think it seriously and irreparably harms a twelve-year-old to see an explicit sex act on the internet? I think it does, but many think it is normal now.

    b) I realize "children are somewhat sexual" as I have one two-year-old who stimulates himself whenever he cozies up to his blankie during naptime, but I do not think it is at all appropriate to dress little girls in sexual clothing, nor do I think it is appropriate to allow kids to just passively imbibe the MTV image of sexuality. Should you not allow your children to be near other children who have lax standards in their homes? This issue starts early around here.

    c) Should I assume that they are going to see this stuff somewhere, so I should start arming them and talking about it now (or when they are about 9)?

    d) Do you think an adolescent boy can handle and benefit from a discussion like, "Well, you saw that pornographic picture the boy down the street passed around the bus. I want you to think about that girl and if you think it is OK to have people looking at her that way, and how she feels etc."?

    e) Does anyone think there is credence to the claim that, "...all men look at pornography", end of story? I know my husband used to sneak a little every once in a while earlier in our marriage, and although it bothered me, I tried to ignore it, but then I tried to talk about it, and he just shut down. This is not something he did often (maybe once a month or a few times a year, as far as I know), but I am very confused. some of my male friends have told me that there is no way any man can honestly say he does not view it once in a while.

    f) Maybe it is best to try to create a separate enclave for your boys through homeschooling until they are 18!????

    g) It is hard for boys. They are so hard-wired for sexual arousal. Yes, some girls are (I had a few friends who were always the aggressors, especially when ovulating!) I think moms of boys have a monumental task of trying to teach them sexual morality.

    h) Does anybody remember the John Stossel piece a few years ago, that showed the correlation between our increasingly racy media and a DECREASE in sexual crimes against women. Maybe I should not care.
    Please check it out. I don't know what to make of it.

  169. Mary - so many interesting thoughts! I have a few immediate thoughts in response:

    1. Your comment about children being "somewhat sexual." I think in our culture there is too much of a push to see children as "sexual"... a 2-yr-old isn't behaving that way for the exact same reason a teen boy might. But even more importantly, children between ages 5 - 12 are what the Catholic faith (and now many developmental experts) recognize as a latent phase. In other words, school-aged kids are naturally wired to be very disinterested in sexual anything... this is the "cooties" stage. There is speculation that a lot of the harm done today to exposing kids to sexual content too early has to do with disrupting that care-free, platonic, latent period that is so necessary to give kids "room" for intellectual and emotional development apart from the steamy struggles of puberty.

    Also, in regards to all men watching porn... short answer is no, at least not for life. As my dad told me, don't buy that lie!!! :) I reflected on this issue on my blog:

    Gotta run!

  170. Leila,

    In response to your post about marital masturbation: Then this post is totally off? This was the way it was explained to me years ago:


  171. I made a comment about my children not having to get college degrees. At the risk of beating a dead horse, let me clarify. :) Education is very important to me and my husband and we will encourage our children to get bachelors degrees. I myself got a degree so that, God forbid, if something happened to my husband, I could get a decent paying job and support myself and the children. I think this is prudent, but not a luxury everyone has, nor something everyone is supposed to do. Some people aren't cut out for college and that doesn't mean they are doomed. This isn't to imply that they aren't intelligent enough, but sometimes the finances aren't possible, or they have different skills that don't require a degree, so why go in debt for one? There are multitudes of reasons.

    My point (a waaaay long time ago when this first came up) was that I wouldn't plan my family around my financial ability to send my children to college. 1. My children can and will take out loans for school if they go, and I think that is good for them, and 2. I just don't think a higher education is of great enough importance to refuse bringing more life into the world.

  172. Mary, I'll just throw out these quotes from Christopher West who has studied the Theology of the Body a lot and written books on the subject:

    “…but it's not inherently wrong if the wife climaxes as a result of oral stimulation, so long as it's within the context of a completed act of intercourse…. Furthermore, while there's nothing wrong per se with oral-genital contact as foreplay to intercourse, such expressions require the greatest degree of purity and reverence….”
    Good News About Sex and Marriage, p. 93

    “…if the wife, despite their sincere efforts, was unable to climax during penetration, it may well be the loving thing for the husband to stimulate her to climax thereafter (if she so desired). In this case, such stimulation is not inherently masturbatory since it is within the context of a completed act of intercourse.”
    Good News About Sex and Marriage, p. 91

    I think the main point is this:
    Stimulation would need to be done by the husband to the wife, within the context of the complete unitive and procreative act. In such a context, it is not masturbation (which, is inherently evil). Others may have more to add. :)

  173. Mary,

    I strenuously disagree with Ron Conte, author of the blog post to which you linked. (I'm sure Leila will as well.) See my link for details, but although he styles himself a Catholic theologian, he is NOT a reputable one. He has some pretty bizarre beliefs and theories and has made several predictions about various apparitions which have yet to come true.

    He says, "The act of masturbation remains intrinsically evil due to the absence of the unitive and procreative meanings from the moral object of that act."

    No, this is absolutely false. Manual stimulation is only masturbation if it occurs apart from a completed marital act. In conjunction with a completed marital act, manual stimulation is perfectly fine.

    I notice Mr. Conte deliberately omits the full context of the CCC paragraph he cites. Here is the ENTIRE paragraph (emphasis mine):

    2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." "The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."

    The Catechism is referring to sexual orgasm that takes place outside of the context of the marital act, not within it.

    If Mr. Conte is married, I feel very sorry indeed for his wife, because it means every marital act between them is nothing more than a "slam, bam, thank-you-ma'am."

  174. Mary, I hope you don't mind, I have a few thoughts on what you asked Leila too. I won't comment on all of them, esp because I don't have the experience of raising kids. (BTW, I was flying most of the day yesterday, so today I'm all about commenting! haha)

    I definitely think it seriously and irreparably harms a kid to see an explicit sex act on tv/internet/magazine, etc. Those images get burned into the brain like none other. It's actually scientifically proven. My priest recently did a homily on pornography and he recalled that when he was young he accidently saw some magazines and the images are burned into his brain to this day. When I was young, I came across some images by mistake and I still remember them. It steals innocence.

    Do not buy into the lie that all men look at porn. Men who make a habit of looking at porn (or maybe it's an addiction for them; that is VERY common and accompanied by lots of shame) would assume that no man could have the self control NOT to look. That just isn't the case.

    Moms of boys have quite a job to do...but so do Dads of boys! They can relate on certain levels of this that moms just can't and they need to lead virtuous lives to witness to their sons what being a man is really about. Quite a tall order...

  175. Mary, someone on facebook had the same question/confusion about this guy. I was horrified by how he styles himself as a theologian and then misleads every reader! He is a crackpot. He is wrong. I think he is a misogynist. He told a woman in the comments that if she can't have an orgasm through penetration, then too bad. I mean, this guy gives Catholics a BAD name, and unfortunately, someone linked this guy to atheist P.Z. Myers' blog and presented it as Catholic teaching, to show how awful we are! I would think we were awful, too, if this guy's stuff were true!

    I hope you tell people far and wide that this guy does NOT represent Catholic teaching on sex!

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clear it up. And, Thanks JoAnna!

  176. Mary, if you have any additional doubts, a quick Google search pulls up this analysis of Conte's belief system.

    Did you know this guy predicted that the Great Tribulation would begin on April 10, 2009, and the Apocolypse a year after? We're still waiting...

    I don't mean to go off on a Ron Conte rant, but it ticks me off when Catholics deliberately mislead other Catholics as to what the Church teaches. Hold your own private opinions, flawed as they may be, by all means, but don't pass them off as official Church teaching!

  177. Dear Leila and Joanna,

    Thanks for clearing that up about that guy, but it is true that my aunt and several others presented it to me that way way back during the Joceylyn Elders (Surgeon General under Clinton) debacle. Glad to hear that he and they are wrong!!!

  178. JoAnna, Leila - thanks for the links and heads up (never heard of this guy). I am not even sure I really understand what Ron Conte's blog post meant... I kept thinking, "Does he mean spouses can't *touch* each other except floating over each other and penetrating?" I mean, how does one even "masturbate" *during* intercourse? Sorry if I sound crass or naive, but I am just not getting the mechanics (or perhaps the language) here. That was my first red flag that something didn't seem right.

  179. Complicated life and Sarah and others,

    Thanks for all your responses. I would really be interested in some hard-and-fast tips and techniques for approaching these topics with boys. Any moms out there been there and done that with their grown sons?

    About the images effects on your brain; my brother said he thinks he might have been negatively affected by an image he saw when he was about ten, but then he goes on to say that he has a great relationship with his wife, and really hasn't had any problems etc. I am inclined to think it steals innocence too, but then again, I wonder if we should just assume that their innocence will be stolen and start taking about these things with them earlier.

    I really don't know, and would appreciate input from experienced moms of boys (or people who know them well)!

    How about a post just about this?

  180. Actually... sorry to post so much.... but don't try to answer my questions above, lol. Just nod and smile if I am being an idiot here... because any answer would probably be inappropriate to post!

  181. Sarah, Complicated Life and Leila (and others),

    With regard to education. I agree with Leila to a point....the older I get, the more I care that my children are happy, virtuous and well-adjusted, rather than how educated they are. I live in the Northeast where educational attainment has truly become an idol. I used to worship at that altar, and now I think it is utterly overdone. I know many very happy people who followed their heart, went into the trades, and are wildly successful. I know many others who kept chasing after the Ph.D., the post-doc etc. etc. and who are not really that happy. (Not to disparage those who have done so with perspective).


  182. "Thanks for clearing that up about that guy, but it is true that my aunt and several others presented it to me that way way back during the Joceylyn Elders (Surgeon General under Clinton) debacle. Glad to hear that he and they are wrong!"

    It's really sad that that misunderstanding is so pervasive (and some of Joycelyn Elders' opinions were just plain scary, IMO!).

  183. I kept thinking, "Does he mean spouses can't *touch* each other except floating over each other and penetrating?"

    Haven't read any other comments yet, but this made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!

  184. Mary, run don't walk to your nearest library or bookstore, and pick up two books for teens (you will be fascinated by them, too):


    The ones for adults (For Women Only and For Men Only) are also excellent!

    I had my teens read them, and I read them, too. The stuff about boys/men and their visual "file cabinet" in their head was soooo shocking and eye-opening. It's all based on interviewing hundreds of boys and men, and women and girls. I knew men were visual, but I had no idea how even one image (like you said) can stay with them forever. It's true of almost all sexual images for men. It's so hard to be a man in this culture!!

  185. college student, do you think the trailer for Blood Money was lies?

  186. Okay, I'm finally caught up! Mary, I agree with the others (and you) who said that early exposure to porn will stay with and harm a boy for life. It's so difficult to have an "ordered" view of sex and women when the images of women to be lusted at as objects is your first "intimate" view. Boys and men cannot shake those images.

    It is not true that all men look at porn. I like what Complicated Life said about that. And, it's not true that all boys masturbate. My very manly teen son came to ME one day after an event with other friends, and he told me he was insulted and disgusted when two of his friends said that all boys masturbate! Believe me, he would not bring that up to me if he were doing the deed, ha ha! Children can be taught in right ways, if it's a priority of the parents, and if it makes sense. That is key.

    (I'm not saying that all six of my boys will be sexually perfect, but heck, at least they know what the standard is and why! So much better than not teaching them at all, like many parents today.)

    The time to start talking to a boy about things like porn and sex is either a) when they are exposed to it, and you have no choice but to step in with the correct view, to try to undo the damage, and b) when they are old enough to start asking questions or hitting the middle school years.

    I do think it's VERY important to monitor their friends and friends' families in the young years. I purposely put my kids in a "Bubble" school until at least sixth grade, and then they hang out with kids and families that think in terms of sexual purity. I don't have to worry that they will be seeing R rated movies at age 9 (or even 12!) because the "peer pressure" in the school and community is to be virtuous. It's been wonderful for my kids and as long as it's backed up at home, it works!

    So, my young kids are getting the same message from all adults in their home, their school, their parish and their friends' families. It's amazing what that does in terms of formation. The older ones then go to a (very excellent) public charter school, where they are "out of the Bubble" and hold their faith very well. My daughter is at a large state university and her faith and virtue are intact. She's a great girl!!

    So, it can work, but you have to make it work, since the culture is NOT GOING TO HELP YOU! In fact, the culture works to undo everything you want to instill. But, you are the parent and you are stronger than the culture. :)

    And, pray a lot!!

  187. Sarah, by the way, I LOVE your link to your post! That was excellent!

    Mary, one more thing: Do not be afraid of teaching your boys the right way. Be firm, be bold, be excited about it. You are the parent and they will listen, especially if you sound sure and knowledgeable and not tentative or scared. YOU can do it! They will respect that you are teaching them something that makes sense but is not easy. That helps them to be heroic, and males are hardwired to be heros. We never give them that chance anymore. But they want to be heros!

  188. College Student,

    Watching a 2 minute trailer is no different than judging a book by it's cover. I will tell you why Blood Money has not been made into an SNL skit- because left-leaning networks and shows don't like to talk about abortion. It's a "touchy" subject for some reason. This documentary won't be getting any nods at the Sundance Festival, that's for sure.

    Those girls' tears were real, not something to laugh at. The stories are not fabricated, they are true events. When are you going to take off the rose-colored glasses? When you graduate? The day after graduation is no different than the day before. Babies are dying every day and women are suffering for it for the rest of their lives. All in the name of "choice". The truth is, most women have abortions because they feel they have NO choice.

  189. ps sorry about the rose-colored glasses comment, that was kinda mean:(

  190. Hi all,

    Has anyone seen "Lake of Fire", another abortion documentary? I have not seen either.

  191. Anonymous,

    Yes. I did judge that book by its cover. I have many things to do in a day and it was clear that video was not worth my time.

    I would also imagine that no, in fact those girl’s tears were not real, as that girl is an actor.

    Why do I think that film has zero credibility? The language for one. “we wanted to ‘break down their natural modesty.” This is not a phrase Planned Parenthood would say; this is a phrase churches would say. As a liberal, I can spot liberal language. There is no way a leftist organization would have as part of its mission statement ‘to break down natural modesty,’ because we don’t acknowledge that It exists--so red hearing there!

    I also think ‘the we wanted each girl to have 3-5 abortions’ is ridiculous. Why? Because if each 13-19 year old got pregnant five times during the span of 7 years it would be pretty obvious their birth control didn’t work. Their consumer base would dry up, they would be exposed, and they would loose money

    I don’t dislike this trailer because its against Planted Parenthood. I dislike this trailer because its crap. If you told me Planned Parenthood has an elaborate scheme to teach the infallibility of BC to get people to have abortions, I could buy that. I wouldn’t necessarily believe it, but it’s plausible. Even if she said “every 100 packs of BC we sold, one was defective,” Ok plausible. But having your objective be 3-5 abortions a woman is a horrible business plan; one that would ultimately loose the company their credibility and cause it to go bankrupt. So no, I don’t believe it was actually their business plan, not because I’m assuming they are above that sort of thing but because I’m assuming they aren’t trying to drive their business into the ground.

  192. CS - I don't think the speaker was quoting PP propaganda when she made the "natural modesty," it's my impression that she's using her own words to describe her retrospective view of a program.

    As for the 5 abortions per girl - well, all PP would have to say is, "You didn't use your BC correctly" and claim user failure rate was to blame instead of method failure rate. They're teenage girls; what do they know?

    You're sure the crying girl is an actress -- what proof do you have of that?


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