America’s Giant Pratfall

I, too, attended a Jesuit university, albeit a few years later than Panetta. I do not recall learning anything there that would’ve disabled me from making the distinction between the proper use of and abuse of sex. Panetta has now crossed that line without apparently being able to see it. Under the cover of “diversity,” he is publicly endorsing actions that are contrary to the faith he purportedly holds, to say nothing of its effect on military discipline. He is now part of the rationalization for this moral misbehavior – making wrong into right. That is what rationalizations demand – acquiescence, and then cooperation. He has given his.

I have no problem believing that homosexual Americans have sacrificed for their country. I’m equally certain that alcoholic Americans have also done so. It is their sacrifice as Americans that should be honored. What is the point of celebrating their behavior as homosexuals, or as alcoholics, if not to promote homosexual or alcoholic behavior? The one is as absurd as the other.

Perhaps Secretary Panetta had Sister Margaret Farley’s book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, for his bedside reading. Her tome is another significant marker on the way down. This is the book that raised the Vatican’s ire for its endorsement of homosexual relationships and marriage, masturbation, and remarriage after divorce. When the news of the Vatican censure broke, the book became an immediate bestseller. What could be better or more valuable than getting a Catholic to rationalize your moral misbehavior for you? That’s got to be worth the US$25.75 that Amazon charges.

What I particularly enjoyed was Sister Farley’s explanation for why her book contradicted the teachings of the Church: “I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.” I wonder how this comports with her religious vows.

It reminds me of a situation somewhat like this. Let us suppose that at a country club, a golfer decided all of a sudden to play the eighth hole in the opposite direction. In other words, he teed off at the green and aimed for the tee. Let us then suppose that he was approached and remonstrated with by the rules committee of the club. His Sister Margaret response might be: “Oh, but I wasn’t playing the hole as a member of the club.” To which the rules committee could reasonably reply, “But you are a member of the club and you’re playing at the club.” He might respond, “Actually, I didn’t intend to play golf, but something else. This is of a different genre altogether.”

In which case, the rules committee could remind the errant member that he had agreed to the rules when he joined the club and that, if he no longer wished to abide by them, he should leave. Why is the Catholic Church the only “club” whose rules may be traduced by those who still insist on the right to remain its member?

This is the stuff of comedy. It’s like a giant pratfall – not a person falling, but an entire culture slipping on a banana peel. Laughing at it is really the only fun left in a degenerate era, which turns out not to be so much fun after all. In fact, it is extremely dangerous to the health of one’s soul.

The forces of social convention enlisted on the side of the rationalization of moral misbehavior are very powerful. Because of them, no one can now serve as a Secretary of Defense, or indeed of any other government agency, without endorsing Gay Pride Month. If you insist on publicly maintaining moral principles, you are officially part of the problem.

Why is it so very important not to be changed by this? What is the price of assent to and collaboration with Gay Pride? The answer is clearly spelled out in Romans 1. Saint Paul describes a situation eerily like our own in which those “who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” fell into “shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts, one toward another: men with men, working that which is filthy…” So those, “Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.” (Italics added) Gay Pride is that consent, the price for which is the death of your soul.

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Robert R. Reilly

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Robert Reilly has worked in foreign policy, the military, and the arts. His most recent book is The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis. This article courtesy of MercatorNet.

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  • James Stagg

    Outstanding presentation of the perils of modern American culture.

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Protect us against the wiles and snares of the devil (examples above).

  • chaco

    Those, whose Battle Cry is tolerance, can’t tolerate espousing of the societal advantages from sexuality being linked to family. There is no evidence that their proposal can contribute to the Common Good; even from countries that have tried such values for years. Anyone dealing with addictions knows that reasoning toward Truth is futile until the addiction is removed (see II Tim. 4: 3-4). I see our best weapon being to insist on Freedom of Conscience while pointing out their intolerance. [We should be encouraged when they resort to name-calling because it is proof that they have run out of reasons for defending their view.] 

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