Saturday, August 06, 2005

Do Not Waste Thy Seed Upon The Ground
Why The Catholic Church Is Against Contraception
Oh Yes, And A Whole Bunch Of Musing From Pastorius
On Why We Modern People Don't Want To Have Lots Of Kids

From the Anchoress comes a wonderful exposition of a lifestyle choice I can't ever imagine making:

I am sharing this with you because I am sure this fellow is not the only one confused out there. I am surely no spokesperson for the church, for that matter, I’m not even an “expert,” in this subject. I am only a Catholic laywoman who has thought long and hard about all of this - as many of us Catholic laywomen have! :)


it must be said, when you’re talking sperm and ova you are talking about essences - our essential selves, which are derived from the deepest parts of our beings, and you are talking about the material which was designed specifically for the purpose of assisting God in the creation of humanity.

God loves us into being - we are begotten. Our creation is no accident, but the Love of God made manifest, and the “tools” or “materials” that He uses for that creation - committed love and the mysterious and miraculous products of that love - do, simply by their designation as “tools of God” demand a certain respect and recognition, because they are a great deal more than the equivalent of nasal mucous or earwax. They are the essentials of human creation, and therefore they are of staggering value and import. In THAT sense, yes, every sperm is sacred.

As to the teaching that every sex act must “hit the target,” (that’s a rather, errr, colorful way to put it), it simply means that every sex act, if it is truly to be respectful of God’s design and creation, must be opened to the possibility of new life, to God and to His will as to whether or not new life will be created. If the couple is NOT open to that possibility, if they take steps to suppress that possibility, then they have - essentially - excluded God from the act.

It is, really, kind of an ultimate surrender, an ultimate trust. For Christians who routinely say, “Thy Will Be Done,” it is where the rubber meets the road. No pun intended.

What one must keep in mind is that what the church is putting forth is an IDEAL. And that’s part of the job of the church, to teach and inform us as to what the ideals are, and in this case, the ideal is that we humans remain open to the will of God, in all circumstances.

That’s a tall order, and one that we cannot possibly meet without Grace.

But the church does understand that we, in our imperfect humanity and willfulness, will very likely not meet that ideal ...

Nevertheless, if the church did not put forth the IDEAL, it would be terribly, sinfully remiss in its teaching, because it would basically be telling people not to bother to strive for perfection in our openness to God’s will because “it’s not possible.” A fatalist message is never a good one, particularly when Jesus tells us in the Gospel that “…with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

One of the jobs of the church is to help us find our openness to God - to help us to maintain that openness to His will, so that we might reach our own best and highest spiritual potential, because we are not called to dwell in darkness but to live in the light, and in holiness. We are called to holiness: “Be holy as my Father in heaven is Holy.” If holiness is our quest, there can then be no limits to our openness.

One of the common misunderstandings is that “the church says sex must always and only be about procreation, and if it’s not possible, then sex is a sin.” This is nonsense. Sex is the gift and privilege of married couples, both pleasurable and procreative. When fertility has come to an end, when the possibility of new life is no longer there, that means the procreation part has ended, not the pleasure.

I want to add to this another thought of The Anchoress', from another post wherein she discussed the awesomely sad fact that in Japan they are beginning to attempt to market huggable human dolls to lonely people:

This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read:

"As Japan produces fewer children and more retirees, toymakers are designing new dolls designed not for the young but for the lonely and elderly—companions which can sleep next to them and offer caring words they may never hear otherwise."

Look in scripture - in any tradition - all you want, and you will not see a baby described as anything but a blessing. Sadly, people are giving up their opportunities for blessings, in exchange for things. But things can’t love you back.

So many of our decisions in modern society are made for the pleasure things will bring us immediately. We seem to have lost an understanding of the fact that we have a future, and that one day in that future we will be lying on our death bed making up an account of our lives.

We've heard it said so many times that no man looks back on his life and thinks to himself, "I wish I would have worked more." But instead we all think about our families. The truth of the matter is, the more children we have, the more love is in our lives.

Children bring with them frightening prospects of responisibilty, and there is always the possibility that they will have a sad, unhappy life for one reason or another. No parent wants to watch a child suffer through disappoints. And as such is the case, it is hard to say to ones self in the midst of responsibility, "Yes, more children, more blessing." But, when we step back, we know it to be true.

Now, let's talk about another subject. Why is it that modern women want so few children? The yearning for Motherhood is inborn in woman. If you are caught up in political correctness, and do not believe me on this, then just think about how little girls mother their dolls, and dream of one day having babies. Little boys do not do this ... EVER.

I have not ever, not even once in my life, dreamed about having a baby. Not even on the night that my wife and I had our first child.

I dream of adventure, of protecting and killing. I dream of my fears and enemies, and I dream about women and sex. I dream of scaling heights, and I dream of running long distances. But, I never dream about babies, or even children for that matter.

Here's the thing. I am 42 years old. My wife and I made our decision a couple years ago to have no more children. The first two years with each of our children aged both of us tremendously. And there have been the stresses of making a living, and the disappointments of watching retirement money disappear in the stock market, and seeing business dry up after 9/11.

My wife married a risk taker. And I'm sure there is never a dull moment in her life. But now, let us be honest about something here; my wife married a sensitive risk taker. I am an artist by nature, and I am given to all the operatics and flights of fancy you'd expect from an artist. And here lies the rub, I believe.

Why would a woman want to have child after child with a man upon whom she can not count for stability? And while I have always been a good-to-excellent provider, and while I am responsibile to the point where friends laugh at me about my overblown sense of responsibility, there is always the truth behind it all, that we just never quite know what Pastorius is going to do next.

And, this is the problem for the modern woman in my opinion. They never know what their men are going to do next. Divorce, affairs, substance abuse, anger, all these plague the modern man. If a woman hasn't seen it up close and personal in her own life, then she has experienced with friends, and is reminded of it daily by the media.

Add to these instabilities, the fact of the feminization of the modern man. The pussification of men; because let's face it (and I will probably find more immediate agreement among women on this point, then I will get from men) that's what it is. Men are being taught to be pussies in our modern culture. Shaving our body hair, having our nails done, talking about our feelings. Hey, I'm guilty of this stuff as well (well, I don't have my nails done, and by modern standards I am a hairy beast, but I have shaved on occasion), so it's not like I'm just pointing a finger here.

But, the thing is, this is not what women want from us, even when they tell us it is. Sorry, women, now, I am going to point a finger. Women don't always tell the truth about what they want and don't want. (This has been one of the hardest won lessons of my life) Women only want to look at pretty boys on the idealized light of the silver screen. They only like sensitive men who cry in the theoretical world of self-help books and talk shows.

In reality, women like men who are fearless brutes. Men who know what they want and go about taking it from the world. Men whose intelligence and conviction knows little compromise.

So now, let us go back to the dreams of children. I noted that little girls dream of being mommies, and I noted the fact boys never dream of babies. Well, what do we dream of? I said it already, didn't I? I don't think I am alone in this, am I guys?

We dream of adventure. Of scaling heights. Of running great distances. Of vanquishing the enemy, and occasionally tearing him limb from limb. We dream about sex, and we dream about our loved ones. These dreams are all metaphors for the part we play in life, which is protecting, and providing for our families. These are the things that women want from us, and lo and behold, these are also the things we want from ourselves.

But, while we may dream of these ideal selves, we are faced with the reality that we are who we are. We are products of how we were raised, of the culture in which we were raised.

I believe this reality is slowly beginning to change. We are seeing the beginnings of a second sexual revolution stirring in our society. Only this time, it is men who are making the demands. The media phenomena of shows like the Howard Stern Show, The Man Show, and Maxim Magazine, all these point to the fact that men are beginning to say to women, "Sorry ladies, you're just going to have to accept us for who we are; and you know you like it."

But, the reality is, our revolution can't all be about sex, beer and farting. It has to reach beyond that, or else we're just going to be a bunch of pussifed metrosexuals who sit on our couches drinking beer, watching porn, and farting for the ironic effect of it.

I, for one, am resolving this year, to make twice as much money, and tell my wife half as much how I feel about it. I am going to put my wife on a time limit for how long she is allowed to take to have an orgasm. (Just kidding.) And I may go to some chick flicks with her, and I may even shed a tear during the sappy parts, but when she asks me, I'm going to just tell her I got a piece of my popcorn stuck in my eye.

Well, at least one of those ideas would be a good start anyway.