The April 10 "drag show" that was held at the University of San Diego - a Jesuit institution - is a tragic symptom of how the ongoing degeneration of the moral standards of the Western world is continuing to infect even Church institutions originally established to promote the splendor of truth. Several important issues are highlighted by this attack on the sacredness of marriage, human sexuality and the human person. Among these is the ongoing problem that we have of Church leaders seeking to evangelize the world by trying to put new wine into old wineskins. Such leaders continue to acquiesce to the use of distorted and profane terminology and perspectives in order to convey sacred truths and mysteries to a world desperately in need of the whole saving truth of Christ in all its redemptive purity.
For example, while God's Word proclaims that the faithful need to patiently endure evil as they proclaim the whole truth of God, they are never to accommodate or to
tolerate evil. The patient endurance of evil and its consequences is guided by a compassionate desire to give sinners a chance to repent from evildoing, not to validate
such evils. Sadly, over the past century, "tolerance", as propagated by the proponents of political correctness, has become the foundation of ethical and legal thought in secular society - and even in some pulpits. And the parameters of such "tolerance" have changed dramatically so as to mainstream various forms of sexual disorientation and degradation at the expense of the proper orientation of sexual desires toward appreciating and enhancing the sacred covenant of marriage. Likewise, tolerance, rather than respect and reverence, has been promulgated as the basis of healthy human relationships. But Christ's teaching about human relationships is not based on tolerance.
We are thus not called by God to tolerate those who are different from us, but rather respect them and join with them in a humble and docile discernment of the whole truth of God. In this way, through ongoing conversion and more profound prayer, we find the way to overcome the perversions foisted upon humanity by the Prince of Darkness.
All this is dramatized by one of the signs of our times, the AIDS epidemic. AIDS is a condition, by which the "intolerant" immune system of the body stops functioning properly, thus allowing the body to "tolerate" the presence and growth of any opportunistic bacteria or virus that seeks to abide in that body. As a result, such infections are free to grow uninhibited by the immune system, which now operates as if each organism in the body is of equal value. Likewise, cancer cells are merely body cells that do not grow in harmony with the rest of the body. Rather, they set their own agenda and displace, infect and destroy any healthy cells that stand in the way of their "self-fulfillment" or "self-actualization". In both the conditions of AIDS and of cancer, toleration of inordinate growth ultimately leads to the death of the body. The same is true for the body politic. Toleration of perversion cannot lead to authentic human integration for individuals or for society as a whole.
Thus it is that the celebration and glorification of sexual disorientation, enhanced by a firmly ensconced alliance of secularists, academics, media moguls, and sexual addicts, is attacking and destroying the very foundation of civilized society, the natural family unit built on the holy covenant of marriage. Again, perhaps unwittingly, many Catholics have helped this process of perversion by embracing the premises of of the secular world. One example of this is the use of the word, celebration, to describe the sacred and sanctifying mystery of the Mass. As we have become used to the idea that something that is celebrated is thereby sanctifying us, secularists have used this same premise to assert, as they are doing at the University of San Diego, that the celebration of a whole multitude of perverse sexual practices is actually sanctifying society. Through such celebrations, we are supposed to experience deliverance from archaic moral scruples, so as to be "sanctified" by the new morality of sexual liberation.
A similar error was made by the Israelites at the base of Mount Sinai, when they arrived at a consensus to build and worship the golden calf, and sought to sanctify this consensus with a big celebration, which was so abruptly broken up by Moses. Contrary to worldly wisdom, celebrations, no matter how elaborate or impressive, cannot sanctify sin. They can, however, harden hearts and gradually seduce souls into deforming their sincere consciences into sin-seared consciences. And deeply felt emotions do not equal that purity and sincerity of heart required to see God. Just think, for example, of all those throngs of Germans who seemed so fervently sincere as they cried out, "Heil Hitler".
An example of this attitude can be seen in the response that a University of San Diego spokesman made with regard to the Catholic Church's teachings about sexuality. USD spokesman Tim O'Malley was quoted in the media saying, “We do not mean to demean our critics. Gender expression and identity, for some people, is not an area to be explored. For some people, that simply is wrong,” .... “However, the law of the church is silent on cross dressing. There no evidence that cross dressing is inherently homosexual.”
Thus it is that, properly speaking, we do not celebrate Mass, but rather offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass through the ministry of our bishops and priests (in persona Christi). As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, we enter into the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Jesus, our Head, for the sake of bringing God's mercy and healing upon all dimensions of our shared humanity. We are the Church Militant, not the Church Milquetoast. So we do not do our celebrating until His final victory over all the powers of evil is realized. And, as servants of the God of sanctifying holiness and truth, we definitely must not celebrate the perverse dynamics whereby so many souls are being dragged into eternal perdition. More to the point about the university celebration of perversity under the guise of diversity, it should be noted that the maximizing of pleasure is not the foundation of virtuous living. That may be one reason why we are witnessing the rejection of the concept of objective virtues in favor of the less morally stringent word, values. But truth is truth. And mutilation of the truth leads to the mutilation of body and soul - not to mention the degeneration of the whole structure of society.
Specifically, certain parts of the body are created for certain purposes. We do not eat with our noses. We do not breathe through our ears. We do not think with our livers. And we do not conceive children in any other part of the body except a mother's womb. The assertion that certain parts of the body are to be used merely on the basis of the pleasure that an individual can be derived from those parts is ludicrous. According to such an idea, a mother could be charged with child abuse for making her son
eat his vegetables, when he prefers the pleasure of eating potato chips, candy and soft drinks. What is delicious is not necessarily nutritious. So also, sexual practices that an individual finds to be pleasant and exciting are not, therefore, morally right or biologically good for that person. Likewise, if the proper use of the world is to be
determined by the pleasure we can derive from it, why are we told that we must protect endangered species or preserve the environment, when doing so will limit
our potential for maximizing our pleasures?
Human civilization will never be able to be sustained, much less grow in an organic manner, as long as our society continues to promote the lie that the unbridling of
libido, rather than fidelity to duty, to be the guiding principle for the development of the laws, customs and character of our nation.
Spero columnist Rev. Thomas Collins is a Catholic priest in service to the people of Virginia.