In grade school the nuns taught us that our bodies were temples of the Holy Ghost.
I don’t know how many of us really understood what the teaching meant though it did sound really nice to most of us.
I wonder if they even teach that concept in today’s Catholic schools.
It probably does work its way into talks on chastity and sex and of course any workshop on late pope, Blessed John Paul II’s theories on the Theology of the Body have to have some allusions to the reverence that we should pay our natural bodies.
Americans love their bodies. We spend billions every year taking care of them with hygiene and beauty products, gym and spa visits, painful and dangerous exercise routines, vitamins and many other ways of increasing their longevity and to many their immortality.
Look at how many liberals or vegetarians lobby against polluting our bodies and those of others with cigarettes, second-hand smoke, alcohol, fatty foods, bad carbs and even meat.
We glorify our bodies in books, TV shows and photography.
If I see Terry Bradshaw in that weight-loss commercial one more time I will….!!!
Now if the Church could get some of these same people to see the dire effects of pre-marital sex, pornography, marijuana and drug use, reckless driving and alcohol abuse, just maybe they might be able to see beyond the flesh and understand the teachings about the human person.
The human body had been the traditional subject of art for centuries if not millenia.
The nude form, male or female has often run up against censorship.
This negative attitude emanated from the pagan philosopher, Plato who helped establish the duality of man’s body and soul as a principle of Western Civilization.
Once the two were separated philosophically ethical and moral divisions were not far behind.
The Christian religion before John Paul had this strong sense of the body, especially the female being a near occasion of sin.
Most Platonists and later many Christians acted as if they were uncomfortable in their own bodies, mainly because they believed the souls were made for heaven and the body for the grave.
The early Puritans had an insulting attitude toward the human body that the Bible clearly said was created in the image and likeness of God.
Other philosophies and religious view, like the Jansenists, the thinking of St. Augustine and others inflicted terrible psychological damage on maturing young people.
Father Robert Barron’s Book Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual master has a marvelous chapter, entitled The Human Body was made for Ecstasy.
Father Barron reported that according to Aquinas human beings should make peace with their own bodies and renounce the heretical views of the Puritans and the Jansenist Catholics’ tendency to demonize the body and its pleasures as an evil inimical to the will of God.
The story of Adam and Eve with Eve as the temptress that ruined Paradise for everyone has had a long run among moralists and millions of Catholics and Christians.
Unfortunately thanks to Freud who empathized the mental side effects of repressing normal urges, modern society has gone 100% the other way, mistaking libertinism, promiscuity and license for liberation and freedom.
Too many have followed philosopher David Hume who argued that reason or conscience had to become a slave to the passions.
Our society treats any kind of nudity as a prelude or invitation to sex.
John Paul taught that nudity had it correct places–and that in our minds the human body should be divorced from sex except during those rightful times between husbands and wives.
That’s what has been wrong with our society for so long and the liberals are as guilty as the conservatives in perpetuating these misanthropic and misogynistic views.
ESPN Magazine recently published its new annual body magazine.
The pictures of several well-known female and male athletes—all nude– look and appear like visions from the Parthenon of ancient Greece.
One of my new heroes is golfer Gary Player who was photographed for the magazine. The Australian Player is 77 years-old and does 500 sit-ups every day.
Those who will be shocked by these photos should rethink their attitude toward the human body.
There is nothing suggestive or indecent about any of the photos.
The editors were careful to cleverly block out any sign of genitalia in all their subjects.
In a way this is the only dishonest thing about the issue.
John Paul says that we are all male and female. Our distinctive sexual organs are an important part of what makes us male or female. They don’t define us as sexual objects but relate to the essence of our personhood.
To him pornography was showing too little,.
In the name of prudence and even modesty ESPN has ironically done that.
I know perfectly well why they did that. To have followed the pope’s TOB would have invited condemnation. censorship and disdain from the people I described above.
I have to admit that much of the above affected me for much of my early life.
I think my attitude has changed to the point that I see a pretty women, not as an object of sex or any prurient urges but as a beautiful example of God’s creation.
Modesty and chastity have often argued for keeping the female totally in wraps.
The West has nearly completely rejected that idea well into the 21st century to the disadvantage of women everywhere.
Women now represent little more than commercial objects.
It was these attitudes—a disdain for the human body and the reduction of the person, especially the female person to a sex object that the pope hoped to counter.
The Catholic church in Poland can’t handle the naked truth about tennis star Agnieszka Radwanska.
Shortly after Radwanska’s tasteful and relatively modest photos appeared Poland’s Youth Crusade severed its ties with the fourth-ranked tennis star over her immoral behavior while the hierarchy blasted her for her semi-nude spread.
I find it incredulous that John Paul II”‘s native country and a European country to boot would still hang on to this antiquated views on the human body.
This has seriously contributed to the infantilization of millions of men.
It is these contradictory and warring principles that rob human life of much of its daily happiness.
Aquinas believed that contrary to all this, the soul was most at home in a human body.
The soul and body always belong together and the joys and pleasures of both will be astronomically magnified in Heaven.
Barron says Aquinas also wrote that the sensible delights that come from sexual intercourse was greater in paradise than it is on earth.It is absolutely not the case, according to St. Thomas, that pleasure and carnality are signs of or inducements to sin.
Fresh from the creative hand of God, the human being was if anything, sexier than she is at present. This is true because sin diminishes some of the sensibility of the body.
Sin has only rendered the bodily passions disordered and hence less intense and less deeply satisfying.
Maybe this is why there always seems to be something missing–a hunger for something more.
That something more is God and the life He has promised us in Heaven is the place where our human bodies will be returned to us some day.
While the world loves to celebrate the human body never forget that the reason we have such unique bodies is to provide an earthly home for our souls.
When the two are rejoined in heaven—hopefully–at that moment our souls can finally be at home.
Many of you probably have seen the bogus interview between MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio that made the rounds in April on the Internet.
I was over-joyed after reading the transcript of the so-called interview that never aired.
Then it dawned on me, it was too good to be true.
Some research proved that was the case.
Given the state of mind of most of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy, I could not even fathom that our new pope thought exactly as I did on big government, the poor and our duties as Christians.
So even though these words did not actually emanate from Pope Francis’ lips, they still ring true and anyone who reads them can learn what is wrong with the world and why millions of the poor are the way they are.
In fact this phantom interview should be required reading for all who preach about poverty, economics and government.
One of my serious pet peeves is how dense so many of our Catholic hierarchy are on the matter of jobs, economics and even poverty.
I remember as a child in the fourth or fifth grade, the nuns would tell us that Papal infallibility did not apply to secular subjects, such as math, history, and science.
In other words the popes could be as ignorant on logarithms or quantum physics as any high school sophomore.
This goes doubly for the bishops of the Church on economics.
Perhaps the dismal science is just too complicated or worldly for them.
Every time our Archbishop Richard Carlson tries to muster the troops against an ObamaCare that will force Catholic compliance with insurance that offers birth control, I turn a deaf ear because he does not understand the real issue.
I would love to ask him if Obama would grant the Church an exemption or a waiver would he still support the odious health care bill?
I fear that his answer would be in the affirmative.
What the archbishop may fail to understand is that there is more at stake than religious freedom.
ObamaCare is just a large government welfare program, designed to confiscate the wealth of those who produce and give it to the under-productive members of our society that have latched their livelihoods to the federal government hand-outs and take-aways.
There can be no real religious freedom without economic freedom.
People have to be allowed to keep as much of their money as they can so they can support the churches and synagogues of their choice.
That’s what freedom is all about.
This Leviathan in Washington has gotten so large and so greedy that it lusts for every dollar that is not nailed down.
So to illustrate the truth of economics, I have chosen to excerpt several statements that phony interview put in the pope’s mouth.
Pope Francis on Economics and Poverty
In Europe first and now in America , elected men have taken it upon themselves…to create an atmosphere of dependency.
For their own selfish need to increase their own personal power.
Governments are very good at creating poverty where there is no reason to explain it.
I believe poverty is part of the natural condition and that is bad enough.
But my task is to prevent the aggravation of this condition.
The ideology that adds to the poverty must be denounced.
I have a saying for myself, No more poverty than God originally intended in the fall from Grace.
Certainly God would direct the new Pope to have more compassion for these newly created poor.
And if there is any social justice in the Church, the new Pope would have a stern word for the creators of the new situation.
No buyer, or seller either, enters into any exchange against his will. It is the nature of the economy. Man is frail, and he makes mistakes and sometimes is greedy and they enter into exchanges that don’t help them.
Sometimes they become poor, but they made choices.
There is nothing the Church can do except try to educate people to become good consumers. Chiefly, for me, it is an education solution on that side.
And the Church has more schools around the globe than any other faith. I say teach the people to save their souls, and also teach them how not to become poor. And how not to allow the government to trick them into poverty.
I blame the self-serving politicians.
Friend, (Matthews) you are a socialist and your friends are socialists. And you are the reason for 70 years of misery in Russia, and Europe now is seizing in pain from your policies.
You believe in the redistribution of wealth and it makes entire populations poor. You want to nationalize everything and bring every human endeavor under your control.
You destroy a man’s incentive to take care of his very own family, a crime against nature and nature’s God.
You want social control over populations and incrementally you are making everything against the law.
Together this ideology creates more poverty today than all the corporations you vilify have in the history of man.
People being dominated by socialists need to know we don’t all have to be poor. Some poverty is part of our being cast out of the Garden of Eden.
But look at the empire of dependency created by Hugo Chavez.
Promising them, tricking them into worship of government and his very own person.
Giving them fish but not allowing them to fish.
If a fisherman does develop a talent today in Latin America, he is castigated and his catch stolen by the socialists.
Sure, there is voluntary poverty that is virtuous. Many understood the nobility of making themselves independent of the fleeting things of earth. They are distractions from our pursuit of the truth.
I only oppose involuntary poverty.
I think people agree, through their economic choices that some of their money goes to build these. Capital building should be voluntary.
Only when the politician confiscates their wealth, to build government factories, government schools, government hospitals.
Only then do the people not agree. Money given voluntarily is legitimate to build with. Money coerced from the people is not legitimate to build with, because it isn’t given voluntarily.
The best government was created by the Americans, in which they admitted that people are endowed by their creator and most of the administration of society was left to the relationship between God and man.
However, slowly that has been eroded by the atheists on the left, who would replace man’s relationship with God with a new relationship with an opportunist like Hugo Chavez.
Friend, I’ve been studying America this month, before the Pope chose to resign. You must not have fear at speaking the truth. It is for the salvation of souls and the recovery of Thomas Jefferson’s people.
America must not fall to the new painted communism. Even the low information voters don’t want America to be sold into slavery. I pray they cast out the money changers in their government!
What manner of government is there that condones sin?
Abomination upon abomination–giving monies for the murder of children, giving monies for the murder of the elderly!
Your government has been infiltrated by men of sin.
You have created a new type of state, the so-called welfare state. This has happened in order to respond to the needs of the politically created poor.
However, intervening directly is depriving the original society of its responsibility. Families escape responsibility in the welfare state.
And churches even escape responsibility. People stop giving to charity and see every poor person as the government’s problem.
I am a Catholic priest and there are no poor for me to take care of— they are made permanently poor and the property of the politicians.
The social assistance state leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic thinking than by real concern for helping people.
Needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them who act as neighbors and parish members to those in need. (Subsidiarity)
People are kept poor so they will vote for the very candidates that made them poor.
(Ed.’s note: I would add–just look at what the Democrats have done to the black communities that continue to vote for them!)
Realism in religion and economic! What a splendid combination!
Just look what Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty did!
All the government spending in the world cannot eliminate poverty.
It is a utopian idea because the only way it will work is if government leveled the wealth of their citizens making everyone (except themselves) poor.
No inequality–just the equality of the bread line.
17 trillion spent on welfare since then and the poor are still with us.
They have become just what the Democrats want–a permanent underclass.