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Hullabaloo


Friday, July 13, 2012

 
Catholics bringing sexy back

by digby

There's been quite a bit of talk recently about this very slick, very professional new website called 1flesh which promotes abstinence before marriage and dispenses scare stories about contraception. (And as Amanda Marcotte points out, the abstinence before marriage line is questionable since they thoroughly romanticize teen-age marriages as a result of unplanned pregnancies.)

This site is good. Jezebel reports:
"So contraception isn't quite as awesome as the world makes it out to be," the site declares. "What now?" A litany of arguments against contraception and for "100% organic" sex follow (sample brilliant dissertation: "sure, getting pregnant and raising a kid may very well be, to some, inconvenient, expensive, hard, and maddening at times, but it's a hell of a lot better than being dead"), complete with Pinterest-Pinnable images, like a condom standing in for the "O" in "LOL." It's all very wannabe subversive and "now," like a world in which Rick Santorum knows how to use Instagram.
It doesn't just promote teen abstinence, though. It is actively hostile to contraception even in marriage:
And within marriage there’s a fantastic way to family plan that doesn’t involve chemicals or barriers or any such lameness. It’s a method a lot of people don’t know about:

Creighton isn’t just a method of family planning. Creighton is a comprehensive understanding of women’s health, a method that takes the mystery out of a woman’s cycle and allows her to operate in sync with her body. Having this self-knowledge allows women to take care of all sorts of hormonal issues, from pregnancy to PMS, ovarian cysts to infertility. ..
It’s easy to learn, but — if a couple wishes to avoid pregnancy — it requires approximately 8-11 days of abstinence from sexual intercourse each month, a number that can increase if a couple is working to resolve a health issue. This requires real communication between couples, discipline, and a love willing to look beyond the present need and to the good of the other. Living a natural sex life demands something of a lifestyle change, a thing we humans fear.

A natural sex life. Sounds fabulous. What is it exactly? Well, turns out the Creighton method is a product of the "Pope Paul VI Institute", basically the same old Catholic rhythm method with some fancier charts. I hadn't heard that the rhythm method could cure cramps and ovarian cysts, but then I haven't heard that anyone actually practiced this outdated nonsense much either.

The site says it subsists on donations. Ok. But it asks it's kid followers to do other things as well:
There’s three major ways you can help bring sexy back.

Share, share, share, and share. We don’t care where it goes. Troll Planned Parenthood’s Facebook page, email our links to your parents, your Congressmen, your dog, your teachers, your friends — errbody. Tweet us, post us, print us out and stick us on bathroom walls.

Check out our graphic page, and spread our propaganda like it’s Soviet Russia (with a little more love).

Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Tumblr!
I did a little research and found out that this very slick and professional site is apparently the work of a single Catholic blogger (and volunteers) named Marc Barnes who blogs under the name Bad Catholic. And he is one interesting guy with a very lively mind. I just read through a handful of his posts and he's not your typical right-to-lifer. Here's a quick example, in which he posits that it was a Roman Catholic revolt against puritanism that really brought the sexy back (his version of sexy anyway) not the sexual revolution. He's writing specifically about the fact that men used to be much more comfortable being naked. Here's the conclusion:

It’s painfully ironic that our age’s young men are frightened of their bodies, for this is the age of liberation. But so it goes.

As men, I do believe we need to disdain this particular characteristic of the modern world. This is not to advocate random acts of nudity. This is simply to advocate a change of heart. The male body is no mere sex machine, it is a beautiful, good, and extremely useful system. It’s not simply that we shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies, it’s that we shouldn’t be eroticizing our bodies outside of the context of sex. As men, we should reject the basic tenets of the Sexual Revolution, that we should follow every one of our sexual urges, masturbate, watch porn, be sexy, and thus define ourselves as purely sexual beings. Such a view is terrible narrowing of the human person into a single characteristic. We are not homosexual or heterosexual men. We are not sexy or unsexy men. Indeed we are not merely erotic men at all, and should no more consider ourselves so than we should introduce ourselves with our penis. We are far more than that.

We are men.

Here's the kicker. He's 18 years old.

From an interview with him:
Q: Chesterton popped paradoxes well into his sixties. Tolkien was 62 when he finished The Lord of the Rings. Your writing has drawn comparisons to both men, yet jaws drop when people discover that you’re only 18. How has your age been a blessing and a curse?
My age allows me to address topics in a way that the EWTN world refuses to. It allows me to manipulate powers unfairly granted to teenagers and denied to adults—sarcasm, exaggeration, provocation, and, above all, humor. The virtue of humor is that which will make a man listen, no matter how much he disagrees. (The only time you’re given the license to call another man’s mother fat is when you can make him laugh while doing it.)
Laughter is the great disarmer. No man will listen to you telling him that contraception is sinful, but if it comes as a joke, his heart will be more open to the fact than a year of preaching could ever achieve. The end result of using this style is that I don’t really have to moderate myself; I’m given the leeway to write as I actually think as a teenager.
Which is the problem. Being 18, I fall to valuing style over content and cheap humor over real philosophy. I make wide assumptions, crude caricatures, and I have a general lack of sensitivity to the complexity of my readers.
On your blog, you write a lot on what John Allen Jr. calls ‘the pelvic issues’–abortion, contraception, marriage, and pornography. How can Catholics battle the so-called ‘culture of death’, which stands against true life and love?

Catholics are in the remarkable situation of being the only group of people with the desire to separate sex—in all its transcendent beauty—from the murder of infants, the sterilization of our brothers and sisters, the utter objectification of men and women, and the freaky-weird passion with which the world wants to get involved with everyone’s sex lives.

This makes Catholics awesome. We are promoting the good—that sex is sexy—while the world promotes the bad. We stand for the positive argument—that babies deserve life—and not the negative—that sometimes things are so tough you just have to murder. The moment we get negative or defensive is the moment we’ve lost the battle. For why on Earth should a man defending Goodness, Truth and Beauty be anything but shining, affirmative and joyful?

Think about this for a minute. The big new thing in pro-life outreach is a web site run by an 18 year old virgin (I assume) "teaching" other teenagers all about sex. I guess it's the modern version of learning it in the streets. This is a very smart kid. But the fact that he's 18 explains why he spends his days writing about sex and thinking about things like this:




You can dress them up in wedding clothes all you want, but this message hasn't changed since I was in high school back in the dark ages. ("I just want to feel you, baby.") The condom revolution was one of the triumphs of public health and now this child is telling other children that it's so much better without them. Amazing.


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