A reader writes:

In some areas of life you really don’t want a lot of creativity, originality, and all that: you just want integrity. This is particularly true where you’re touching upon the Image and Likeness of God, which is both human and divine, which is sacred.

Two examples related to the human Imago Dei: Plastic Surgery. And Sex.

If I had a deforming, disabling, and painful facial condition, I would hope that a surgeon could reclaim my face; give me back the potential to laugh, cry, talk; eliminate pain and restore my normal sensations. I’d like my loved ones to be able to recognize me. I’d just like to be healed, whole, and expressive.

But I would NOT want the plastic surgeon to be an “artiste” who took a zesty and innovative approach to the number and placement of noses, nerve endings, eyebrows, dimples, and so forth. Plastic surgery is not an area where innovation is to be maximized. Ask Michael Jackson.

The same goes for human sexual love. If your sexual organs aren’t working right, you can use drugs, devices, surgery, etc. to restore the pleasure, expressiveness, and potency of sex. And if your sexual ~relationship~ isn’t working right, therapy, training in intimacy, even romantic “how-to” can solve a lot of problems.

But the purpose of this intervention would be to heal, restore and strengthen the goodness of natural human love: not to redesign it, and not to replace it.

We are in danger of replacing things natural and human with things mechanized and objectified. This is on many, many levels, not only the sexual. (How many of us have e-mail buddies on another continent, and don’t know the names of our next-door neighbors?) (Yo. Guilty. Right here.)

We are daily diminishing out capacity for rich, full-orbed, face-to-face relationships with our elderly and debilitated parents, with our friends and neighbors, with our daughters and sons and spouses.

We have CD’s, but not singing; we have video games, but not stickball; we have vibrators and porn, but not emotional and physical presence.

The personal is losing out, daily more and more, to the impersonal.

And that scares me.

If I had a teenage daughter, I’d rather she had a marriage than an illicit lover; but I’d rather she had a lover than a dildo. I mean it.

And now I’ll leave y’all to discuss this among yourselves. I wonder if I’m gonna have the first R-rated Catholic blog?


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