Sex and babies, a la carte

Forgive me! I have taken too terribly long a hiatus since my last post. Mea culpa. I have no good excuse, except perhaps my adorable firstborn who has since arrived (and aged six months!). However, cute and distracting as he may be, he’s much too good a baby to truly keep me from updating. So, lack of motivation, procrastination, and excuses – be gone! I’m back, folks.

On the theme of babies, there was a picture (or a few, actually) that recently went viral, featuring an adoptive gay couple holding a newborn baby.

Gay Dads

My heart sank as soon as I saw it.

As a Catholic, I’ve long believed marriage to be created exclusively for one man and one woman. I’ve believed this sacred and holy institution, designed by God, to be the source of new life and the best environment for children to be raised – because kids deserve a mom & a dad, married for life.

But becoming a mom myself has shed an entirely new light on my perspectives. As I’ve experienced providing things that only a mother could for her child, and watching my husband do things only dads can do, my heart absolutely breaks for babies who are robbed of their right to having a mom and a dad. It’s unbelievable we even have to call such a thing a “right” as if something so natural – like walking on two feet, for instance – is even in question.

Children like this boy, born of a surrogate mother to by raised by two men, are made a commodity. These are not pitiful, unloved children who wouldn’t otherwise have a home, if not for such adoptive gay couples (a point often made by defenders of gay-parent adoption). This child was a product, manufactured.

God made it pretty simple for us to understand. Man and woman have complementary bodies and together they can partake in the creation of new life, which is absolutely incredible and a gift for which we should be so deeply thankful. But our society has manipulated this gift – deconstructed it, perverted it and destroyed it. Imagine you spent a lifetime creating the perfect gift for someone you loved, shopping every day for decades for every ideal part, spending hours, days, weeks, months, years piecing it together. You delivered it with care and sincere joy, to be able to share such a meaningful gift you had poured your heart into. Then you leave, and return later to find your gift disassembled, partly returned, partly mutilated, partly gone.

So we have done to our Lord. We are a sodomizing, divorcing, fornicating, contracepting, aborting, pornographing society. We order up God’s gift of sex and procreation as if we have an option of “fries with that.” Want sex but no baby? Want sex by yourself? Want sex with someone else, or a few someone elses? Want to make a baby on your own terms? Want to use your sperm? His sperm? Your egg? Her egg? Two eggs, three eggs, four eggs, eight? Want the baby in her belly, your belly, “his” belly? In bed or in a petri dish? Two moms? Three dads? No mom? No dad?

Why are we taking up such an insane creative license with what ought to be a completely natural phenomenon? In a culture of organic, green, free-range everything, why are we making the simple act of sex to make babies so fabricated? It scary to imagine how we could possibly further divert from our Creator’s natural order.

I am not discriminating against same-sex couples alone, here. The great thing about truth found in faith is that these realities are universal and any circumstance which doesn’t involve sex between a married man and woman to make a baby is not okay. IVF, surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation – these are all artificial and therefore clearly point to their perversion of God’s natural law.

Every child deserves a mom & dad because he or she has a mom & dad. It takes an egg from a woman and sperm from a man to make a baby. Conception belongs not in a lab, but in conjugal love. This is basic stuff. Why aren’t we getting it?

A common desire for God

“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church (27)

In the wake of several interviews with Pope Francis which have wreaked media havoc over the recent months, I encountered several posts which initially startled me.

Thank you Pope Francis Pro-Choice Women Everywhere

Thank You Pope Francis, LGBT People Everwhere

I found many fallen-away Catholics, protestants and pagans alike, celebrating the Pope’s comments on gay marriage and abortion. And along with many faithful Catholics, I was frustrated; frustrated with Pope Francis for causing such scandal, frustrated with the liberal media for telling an incomplete story, frustrated not knowing exactly what to say in response to all the confusion.

And while my disappointment hasn’t subsided, I’ve found some reassurance in reflection.

I wondered, “Why does anybody care what the Pope says anyway?” Most secular references to the pontiff, whoever he has been in recent decades, have labeled him just another old man, disconnected from the modern world, not doing much to upset the apple cart of our atheistic culture. So why do they care?

Perhaps it’s simply because they believe he is finally saying something that affirms their agenda. Perhaps they have mistakenly sensed a conversion of their opposition and find victory in a battle won. Although they don’t obey it, perhaps they recognize his authority over a flock of millions and have a new-found hope in a leader who will reverse the bigotry and misogyny that’s been fostered among the faithful for too long, finally to be corrected.

But! If we consider the power of Christ, perhaps it is because they seek to know God. Perhaps they have even a very slight understanding that Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ. Perhaps it is because their hearts are drawn toward the Truth, a Truth contained, in its fullness, in the Holy Catholic Church. Perhaps Christ has drawn their face, their eyes, their ears toward Him… and beckoned His children return to him. Perhaps the flame inside them which lights the path to God… is flickering.

So we must remain hopeful. Yes, we must correct the misunderstandings, we must boldly proclaim the doctrines of our faith, we must not cease to recognize the war we are in, but we must also trust in the Lord, that He has created every one of us – pro-choice and pro-life, pro-gay and pro-traditional marriage, Catholic and non-Catholic alike – to seek Him, to find Him and to know Him.

The prison of masturbation

I was in the seventh grade when a friend first asked me about masturbation. We were having a sleepover and she asked me if I liked to do it. Like any girl stumbling her way through junior high, she was understandably seeking affirmation.

Later that week at school, I wrote her a note about it… a note that my mom ended up finding in my laundry. I was mortified to overhear her bringing it up to my grandmother, whispering as to avoid catching my attention, “…In the seventh grade? Can you believe it?! Seventh grade!”

As the oldest of my siblings, it was just one of many awkward firsts for my parents, I’m sure. Unfortunately, looking back almost 15 years later, I don’t believe many of us would be so surprised as my mom was then to encounter such casual conversation on the topic… even between young teens.

Masturbation, though once taboo, is no longer.

If “the nation’s largest provider of sex education” has anything to teach us about it, it’s that, “Masturbation is a natural and common activity for both women and men…It’s also common for children and teens.”

Are their benefits? Absolutely. “Masturbation can be good for mental and physical health…[It's] one of the best ways we can learn about our sexuality.” Want more? How about “increased self-esteem and body image” and “improved relationships”?

Any risks? “There are no health risks with masturbation… negative feelings about masturbation can threaten our health and well-being.”

So what’s stopping anyone from doing it?

Simply put, a failure to see the truth: that masturbation doesn’t offer the gratification, improved self-esteem and sexual health that everyone promises. It perpetuates loneliness, destroys relationships, spurs addiction and worse.

Like many, I was just as much once blinded and deceived to reject this truth, among classmates in college who unabashedly treasured their personal sex toys and pornography collections, to coworkers who shamelessly divulged about such private habits.

Just recently, I was the only female with a group of about eight men, most over 40, laughing it up over their dependency on the habit, one of them joking that 90% of men admit to masturbating and the other 10% are liars.

If we trust the propaganda to tell us what’s healthy & natural, and the behavior of our peers to justify the normalcy, it’s unlikely that many find their way to the truth… even where it ought to be proclaimed; I recall many Q&A sessions with our pastor on junior high and high school retreats. When the subject of masturbation inevitably arose, with unfortunate lack of compassion, our priest would instruct on Church teaching, then go on to say how “some theologians” argue otherwise… hardly encouragement to trust and obey our Holy Mother Church.

But where there is darkness, light shines all the brighter. And as C.S. Lewis puts it, the truth is bright & clear.

“…The real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another… and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides.

And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman.

For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival.

Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.

In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself… After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.” (The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3)

Masturbation: Prison of Sin

We have come to love the prison and we have refused to believe masturbation to be what it truly is, “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action,” as the Catechism explains.

“The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose,” (that being for babies and bonding). “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,” (CCC 2252).

In the midst of the darkness, confusion & lies, it must be shared boldly that masturbation is evil.

It nullifies and rejects the self-giving nature of sex.

It threatens, weakens and destroys intimate relationships.

It promotes vanity & selfishness.

It corrupts the natural sexual expectations of one’s spouse or future beloved.

It distorts our understanding of Christ and His desires for us as His children.

And it opens doors for demons seeking to ruin our souls.

So we must turn to God. We must ask for His grace that the scales may fall from our eyes to see the real sin of masturbation. We must seek courage to stand against sexual sin and the fortitude to lead others to the truth. And we must be reminded how deeply He loves us and desires that we live truly fulfilling, chaste lives in following His Holy Will.

St. Michael, the Archangel, pray for us.