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Why There is Sexual Suicide

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Let us examine what is happening in our society today: mutual love between a monogamous male and female has been replaced with “liberated sex.” Love in its form of blissful monogamy seems increasingly elusive, and sex as a way to obtain physical pleasure is increasingly available as the supreme human pleasure crucial for our mental health, and is a matter of “human right.” Society sees no need to deprive these pleasures to those who failed to find a life-long partner. The same rationale also made homosexuality and pornography acceptable in our society.

The physical, mental, and psychological consequences caused by this sexual freedom is seen as a “health issue” where treatment is expected from the health care and scientific community. As an ultimate solution, we seek a break between sexual intercourse and reproduction.

The feminists, homosexuals, and pornographers as a group are united in their desire to sexual activity from procreation. The Catholic Church is the only major institution resisting this effort. This group gains the financial support of the major foundations for scientific research.

The research objective is beyond the search for better contraceptives. They seek to eliminate the biological, psychological, and symbolic tie between intercourse and childbearing. They foresee a time when artificial means may be employed for human reproduction. Sex, in the long term, is only for physical pleasure.

*****************Note: No mention of widespread abortion******************

They seemed to be unaware that breakdown of procreation and sexual instincts will ultimately undermine all form of sexual pleasure.

However, we already see the change in behavioral pattern in men and women that is causing suicidal disintegration.

When sex is no longer associated with the affirmation of a durable relationship, the natural male sexual instinct is unmoderated, and the male will gravitate towards a series of sexual conquests of the next available female. The incentive to commitment to job and community is lost. The man will emerge as a sexually impulsive and an opportunistic hedonist who pursues pornography, drugs, and crime. Women are faced with a cruel dilemma. They can either respond to the increasing abdication of men from civilized social and sexual pattern by playing both key roles of job and familial responsibility; or they can choose a career alone without the prospect of a family; or they subject themselves to male sexual impulses, abandoning their procreative horizons and attempt to enjoy themselves with whoever is around.

This is already evident in the state of marriages today – a high rate of divorce and increasing number of fatherless families. Even more tragic are the poor in the ghetto where, in a state sponsored fatherless child rearing system, we see an increasing crime rate, illegitimate children, and the abuse of women and children which no amount of social spending can resolve.

We must conclude that sex, love between the spouses, love for children, and the family unit are indispensably integrated:

“Marriage is not simply a ratification of an existing life. It is the conversion of that love into a biological and social continuity surpassing any two individuals. The very essence of such continuity is children.”

There is inequality between the genders, but they are complimentary to each other, and the ultimate power lies with the woman who teaches the man to become a full member of the family as a social entity.

“These iniquities, pertaining to the core of marriage, can only be overcome by diminishing the woman and her maternal sexuality, reducing her to the lowest forms of male eroticism, leaving her a man without a masculine physiology: A veritable ‘female eunuch.’”

We are on the road to sexual suicide because our acceptance of sex liberation further caused us to accept certain social anomalies as a result of sexual liberation. This includes the concept of “open marriage” where all responsibilities are split equally between the spouses, the high rate of divorce, the large number of fatherless children in broken homes, and women forced to compete in the job market while retaining family responsibilities.

Not understanding the cause of these anomalies will cause us as a society to seek solutions that would put us further down the slippery slope of sexual suicide.

How to Stop Sexual Suicide

There is only one remedy for sexual suicide. It is the reverse of its cause. At root, the cause is the rejection of the basic moral principles taught by Christ and proclaimed by Christians for two thousand years.

Sexual pleasure is not an end in itself. Its divinely ordained purpose is to foster the procreation of children and to sustain the mutual selfless love of husband and wife. If you separate sexual pleasure from this two-fold purpose you are opening the door to what we are calling sexual suicide.

We get some idea of how deeply infected otherwise professed Catholics have become with the mania of sexual indulgence from what happened when Pope Paul VI published Humanae Vitae in 1968. One conference of Bishops after another stood in judgment on the Vicar of Christ. Fully one-half of the hierarchy decided that the Pope’s teaching was out-of-date. The grounds for rejecting the Church’s Magisterium were the familiar ones appealing to each person’s subjective conscience. This is what Pope John Paul II identified as the core problem in the modern world.

He answers the question, “What is one basic error among those who are exalting human freedom?” His answer is a devastating appraisal of the modern world that has redefined the meaning of human freedom. The Pope declares that the most basic error in the world today divorces human freedom from dependence on God. It is frankly atheistic. Each person’s conscience is given the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment. Here the subjective conscience becomes ruler in moral matters apart from the mind and will of God.

What happened to conscience? The Vicar of Christ declares that, “Conscience then becomes the final judge for each person of what is right of wrong, independent of the objective laws of God.” Does this mean that we do not have any true freedom? Ironically, many who exalt human freedom at the expense of obedience to God’s laws are the very ones who deny freedom all together. This is not surprising when you realize that true freedom resides in the human will. Anyone who denies this freedom actually denies that we are ever free in anything we choose to do.

Sexual suicide has introduced the culture of death in the modern world. The most terrifying system of this culture is its massive murder of millions of unborn children which is now fully legalized in most of the nations of our day. Once again, Pope John Paul II raises the question, “What is the most devastating form of this conspiracy against life?” His answer is clear. It is the spread of abortion. Enormous sums of money are being invested to produce pharmaceutical products to ensure the killing of unborn children in their mothers’ wombs. So true is this that scientific research seems to be exclusively preoccupied with developing weapons of death against innocent children awaiting birth.

Our closing question at this conference is how sexual suicide can be overcome. It can be overcome only by our Christianization of society. This re-Christianization is not as obvious as may seem. The widespread sexual self-destruction so prevalent in once Christian countries is the result of millions abandoning their Christian faith. What happened? The result was inevitable. Marriage as a life-long union of one man and one woman became a relic of past history. The family as a loving community of father, mother, and children became a relic of a forgotten age. Women as devoted wives and mothers were mesmerized into becoming feminist leaders in the liberation from domination by an allegedly male patriarchy. Children as the precious treasures whom husbands and wives loved to bring into this world as the preparation for the eternal home to which families are destined, became a burden that the state took into protective custody. The aged, who were respected for their wisdom and rich experience, became a liability.

All these monumental changes in society took place for the most obvious of reasons. There can be no authentic family life, no true marital commitment, no loving propagation of children, no selfless care of the aged and the infirm except where there are believers in Jesus Christ who live up to their faith. We should have no illusions about the price that we Catholics have to pay to re-Christianize a widely de-Christianized society. So many forces are at work in the world to separate and divide the family in the name of individuality. The exaltation of individuality is camouflaged as personality.

Only a deep faith in Jesus Christ and trust in His power can make the humanly impossible, divinely possible with the help of His grace. Selfiishness, as the saints tell us, is cunning. It pushes and insinuates itself into everything, while making us believe it is not there at all. This is the root cause of sexual suicide and its consequent breakdown of family life in so many materially over-developed countries in our day. Only the God who became a child and lived on earth as a member of a family could have inspired the selfless love that brought the Christian family into being. This same Jesus, we are confident, will reform the Christian family where it has weakened and even bring it back where need be.

After all, has that not been the story ever since Good Friday and Easter Sunday? The Church, we may say, has died many times and risen again for the best of reasons. Her founder is God, who was crucified and rose from the dead. The future of the Christian family is most promising, but only for those who really believe that Christianity is the religion of civilization.

Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica
No reproductions shall be made without prior written permission.

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