Yes, that is a puzzlement, ain’t it?

Yes, that is a puzzlement, ain’t it? January 31, 2013

Yesterday, there was a troll here explaining the normal sexual wisdom of the America 2013. Chastity is totalitarian. Totalitarian regimes hate sex and the proof of that is Nazis encouraging childbirth, and so childbirth is Nazism and something something Stalin and North Korea. Everybody must stay out of my bedroom and everybody must pay for whatever I want to do there. Religion oppresses and controls women and the Catholic ladies here who are criticizing birth control must step aside, not bother their pretty little heads with matters they don’t understand, and let an enlightened man do their thinking for them on this. Maybe they can go bake cookies or something while he holds forth on the beauty of sex untrammeled by commitment or babies.

The whole “Catholics hate and fear the Light” thing, when it comes to “results of our postmodern sexual ethos” is a real non-starter. Nobody is more invested in darkness and ignorance than the pro-abort brigade. From not being able to bear facing the horror of what abortion does, to smacking down parental notification laws, to trying to crush the free speech of prolife advocates, to trying to stop ultrasounds, the pro-abort contingent is a giant machine dedicated to ignorance and the shutting of eyes, ears, and minds.

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  • Marcus

    It is a weird culture we live in that seems to hate children but love promiscuity. The best is all the left wing folks who, once they drop their supposed concern for the poor (or even better as a supposed result of that concern) trumpet how the poor need to stop having so many babies, but would never think to suggest that maybe we should reign In the whole “consequence free sex” myth.

    • David Norris

      I don’t hate children.I do think, however, that it is the responsible to thing to do in an age of declining resources and climate change to limit our impact on this planet as much as possible, and that anyone who has more than three kids needs their head examined. This isn’t the 18th Century where we need help on the family farm! It just makes no sense to have large families these days. Do you really ever think, when stuck in traffic in some suburban sprawland that “You know what this place really needs? MORE PEOPLE!” Yeah, I thought not.

      • Jamie R

        Traffic is the result of poor urban planning, not poor family planning.

        • David Norris

          The depletion of the earth’s resources is the result of overpopulation, full stop.

          Imagine for a second if the world population was ten millions instead of nearly seven billion. Everyone could have a first world lifestyle no problem, with minimal damage to the planet.

          • Allan

            If the earth is so over-populated, how come you haven’t killed yourself to help ease the burden on the planet. Funny how with liberals like you, it’s always someone else who shouldn’t be allowed life, never you. You’re a hypocrite, full stop.

          • Jamie R

            When earth’s population was in the tens of millions, instead of 7 billion, that wasn’t the case.

            And you shifted. You were complaining about traffic created by suburban sprawl. Now you’re talking about the depletion of earth’s resources. Bad urban planning is a problem we can fix. The depletion of earth’s resources is different. If you want to lower the population, but you still want everyone to live a first world lifestyle, you’re not really concerned about the depletion of earth’s resources.

          • deiseach

            David, a first-world lifestyle is the problem in the first place. All those people who stopped having children because it was such a burden on the planet didn’t end up living in log cabins and eating purely vegan diets; they used the money available on trinkets like Apple’s entire gallery of shiny tech, adventure holidays, bigger houses, etc.

            All the things which require more resources and which – ironically – are often manufactured overseas by those hordes of “too many of you, just enough of me” brown people.

          • dpt

            “depletion of the earth’s resources is the result of overpopulation, full stop.”
            It is the contraceptized West that is consuming a disproportionate amount of the earth’s resources.

            Seems to me that Westerners who are concerned about the earth’s resources need to be giving up their lifestyles, not indulging in consumer products, getting rid of their cars, tvs, computers, A/C, smartphones…

            Walk the walk, lead by example.

          • Mark Shea

            The dream of extermination! Lovely! Just enough of Dave, way too much of everybody else.

          • Margaret

            Large families are the poster children for Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. Excepting underwear, all the clothing coming into the house gets worn by several children over several years. Our crib and changing table will be used by our tenth child this summer, God willing, instead of the “normal” one or two. We don’t buy silly (and wastefully-packaged) things like Lunchables because they are just not in the budget. Our house occupies the same land footprint as the other houses on the street with few to no children. My teens are all quite accomplished at navigating the mass transit system, since an extra car isn’t an option.

            Perhaps we should only allow people to have children who are willing to commit to a minimum of five or six, for the environment’s sake… (For the humor impaired, yes, that was said in jest.)

            • Jon W

              *cough* Don’t exclude underwear … *cough*

          • Katheryn

            Heh. Ha. Heeee. Hhahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
            The whole earth’s population could fit and be sustained on the resources of Texas. This bunk eugenics and population control crap needs to stop. If this world had such limits, why did God make us so fertile? Why did God make sex the (apparently) number one topic on “everyone’s” minds? Why do left-leaning people screech against celibacy? If population control is such a problem celibacy should be the highest civic virtue, because unlike contra, it is fool-proof. Lastly, I don’t see this reader’s concern for the ecological impact that HBC has on fish and other wildlife, as well as humans.

            • Mark Shea

              Ungrateful wench! David, a true feminist, stoops down to educate you and provide you with liberating enlightenment and you question him? You? A mere woman?

            • David Norris

              Celibacy is the only truly unnatural sexuality.

              People want to have s*x. They are going to have s*x. Humans are sexual beings. Even those you think are “celibate” are having it, trust me, either that or they became so sexually repressed that their desires come out sideways by abusing children.

              • Jamie R

                Wait, I thought overpopulation was the problem. Why are you also anti-celibacy?

              • kara

                Of course, there’s no projection there at all. I mean, since apparently you need to hump anything that walks, completely consequence-free, natually everyone must be the same.

              • Katheryn

                Yes, but it is the highest civic duty, you know, taking it for the team, unlike all the breeders and the users with their 1.5 children….

              • Mark Shea

                “Trust me”. Heh! Good one. Like you know. You forget to add “full stop” to shut down all differing opinion or additional information.

              • dpt

                Celibacy is part of natural spectrum of sexuality.

              • James H, London

                “Even those you think are “celibate” are having it, trust me”
                Proof, please? Or are we to take your words on faith?

                “became so sexually repressed that their desires come out sideways by abusing children”
                Evidence, please? Don’t bother, there isn’t any.

                Take it from someone who actually tried repressing desires (yeah, I know, leave me alone) – that’s *not* what happens.

              • Kristen inDallas

                “Celibacy is the only truly unnatural sexuality.”Wow! Clueless too. Do a google search for “percent identifying as aesexual” Way to repress an entire sexuallity subset of the population. I’m calling the tolerance nazi’s on you David. 🙂

          • kara

            Check what happened after actual dramatic population depletion, like the Black Plague in Europe or the famine in Ireland … “First World lifestyle” was not on the menu.

          • john

            the depletion of the earths resources you say? only very recently sky news ran a story that almost half the worlds food does not even make it to the dinner table its thrown in the bin the reason people are dying of starvation is not because there is not enough food in the world it,s because of the lack of concern for those who are less fortunate then the rest of us, just a thought david you would,nt happen to be irish would you?

        • Kristen inDallas

          more babies = more sales tax = highways in a better state of repair. 🙂

      • Eugenia

        Actually, the drastically shrinking demographics of western societies dependent on government-based pensions, welfare or other entitlement checks make it so that there’s a crisis from the lack of child-bearing.

      • Please follow the news better. We have improved oil availability with the US poised to become a net energy exporter again and the largest driller on the planet. Satellites looking at the earth can actually measurably tell that it is getting greener. The availability of food is increasing, even as we engage in the political idiocy of siphoning off huge chunks of it to ethanol. In resource crisis after resource crisis you find misallocation based on political intervention in the economy and not a true lack of resources.

        We are not overpopulated and the projected peak population of the planet due in 2050 will not provoke a resource based population crash based on current projections. Just go look at the numbers, look at the trends, and most importantly, look at the direction of the revisions and you will find a situation where things are generally getting better on the resource front.

        If you are future oriented, keep an eye on SpaceX and its competitors, who look to get us into space in a serious way that we can get *real* solar (and by that I mean the practical, unfiltered by atmosphere stuff that can truly power the planet once we can transmit) and top off on metals and minerals from the asteroid belt if and when we need it. That should keep us for several centuries by which time anybody reasonable is leaving that sort of planning to our descendants.

      • Elaine S.

        Have you seen this article from Slate, written from an entirely secular and scientific point of view, explaining why UNDER-population could very well become the next big demographic crisis:
        The really startling line from this article — bear in mind that this article is written by a secular scholar and makes absolutely no mention of abortion, contraception, or Catholic or any other religious teaching on the subject:
        “Most of our friends have just one or two kids, too, and like us they regard the prospect of having three or four kids the way most people look at ultramarathoning or transoceanic sailing—admirable pursuits, but only for the very committed. That attitude could do for Homo sapiens what that giant asteroid did for the dinosaurs.”

  • Roz

    Sort of ruins the “Catholics and Christians are anti-science” mantra of the left. Who’s afraid of the scientific data now, my little pretties?

  • Brian

    Marcus, your first sentence clearly shows why Humanae Vitae is prophesy. We have divorced sexual intercourse from its primary end through contraception, so when its primary end rears its head, it must be beaten back into oblivion.

    • dpt

      Yes, birth control has enabled are consumer and materialistic desires.
      And with the break up of families, where there once was one household there are two (following a divorce) so more consumption of energy or products (mostly not essentially for life).

  • victor

    I think a good, challenging question to ask would be “What would science have to prove — if, hypothetically, our modern scientific means were capable of proving anything in the world — what would science have to prove to you for you to change your position on abortion?” If they answer “Nothing. Nothing science could demonstrate would change my mind,” then you kind of have to wonder who is really being anti-science in this debate.

    (And of course it’s a trick question because science has already proven that the unborn baby is a disctinct, unique, living human being).

    • Please keep up. They’re trotting out infanticide at this point in the bioethics journals. The importance of scientific proof that “the unborn baby is a disctinct, unique, living human being” is rendered irrelevant when discussing pro-life issues with those who endorse infanticide.

  • David Norris

    First of all, that post was on birth control not abortion. Two separate issues.

    Second, the point about totalitarian regimes being both pro-natalist and anti-sexuality (no, that’s not a contradiction if you think about it) was in response to someone bringing up the ridiculous assertion that modern attitudes on sexuality are some covert assault designed to hasten the transformation of western countries into authoritarian police states. Quite the opposite, as I showed–the attitudes of totalitarian regimes towards sexuality more closely resembles Catholic teaching than not, namely, women are birthing machines who must have intercourse as a duty to populate the State (or in your case, Church) but they musn’t enjoy it TOO much as women’s sexual desire is at best unknown and at worst outright denied, and it it must be under the firm command of a man at all times lest they get any ideas.

    Birth control- has been an unmitigated blessing for the entire world, full stop.

    • Allan

      “Birth control- has been an unmitigated blessing for the entire world, full stop.”

      Birth control has been an unmitigated blessing for men who want to use women for their own sexual gratification then discard them at will. It has been an unmitigated disaster for women who don’t appreciate the joys of being treated like an object rather than a human being. Full stop.

    • Dave Pawlak

      You speak of the earth’s resources. Have you seen what the disposal of birth control hormones has done to fish and amphibians? Do you know how the Pill disrupts and damages a woman’s normal reproductive system?

      Have you ever taken the time to actually read Humanae Vitae for yourself to understand the Catholic perspective, or is that not worth your time?

    • KML

      David, that low roar you’re hearing is hundreds of thousands of Catholic woman laughing uproariously.

      • Mark Shea

        Woman! Who the *hell* do you think you are addressing a man–and an *enlightened one at that*–in that uppity tone? Get back to polishing your nails or giving birth or whatever it is you backward Catholic females do. Have you *no* sense of gratitude for when a man stoops down to provide you with a little uplift?

        • KML

          ::crawls back to kitchen to finish dinner, pausing occasionally for contractions::

          • Either you are really dedicated to blogging or you have a very long trip to the kitchen.


            • Beccolina

              Contractions really slow a girl down. I nearly burned the scrambled eggs. A real shame.

              • Mark Shea

                What are you doing typing and thinking? Your man needs food. Just memorize what Dave is telling you and be done with it. He’s the feminist! You’re just a woman.

                • Katheryn

                  He will get his when our horde of Catholo-Zombies overpopulate his hipster high rise.

                  • Mark Shea

                    “Nine Months Later”. Chilling.

                    • Steve P

                      wow– save this thread for posterity… it’s a classic!

    • Beadgirl

      “Catholic teaching than not, namely, women are birthing machines who must have intercourse as a duty to populate the State (or in your case, Church) but they musn’t enjoy it TOO much as women’s sexual desire is at best unknown and at worst outright denied, and it it must be under the firm command of a man at all times lest they get any ideas.”

      Yeah, you’re going to have to back that up. Please provide citations to support this statement, preferably to primary sources. I’ll wait.

      • Mark Shea

        Woman! Your better is instructing you with native instinctual male wisdom that does not need your petty “facts” and “citiations” that you girls are always on about. Silence! Your part is to listen and obey! Don’t you know *anything* about feminism?

        • Beadgirl

          Oh please oh please don’t tell the Pope on me!

    • Beccolina

      We mustn’t enjoy sex? Oh DEAR. I better tell my husband that we’ve been doing it wrong. Enjoyment and fertility.

      • Mark Shea

        Aaaaand the slut-shaming of poor Dave begins. Dave: how do you bear up under the rebellious attitudes of all these girls suffering from false consciousness? The sheer ingratitude they display when you are only trying to bring a little light to their darkened minds is breathtaking. Don’t they see how much smarter and just, well, *better* you are than their kind (I mean, between you and me, man to man, if you catch my drift)? It is to weep.

      • David Norris

        Yes, according to Augustine of Hippo, you’re doing it VERY wrong.

        ” Love your wives then, but love them chastely. In your intercourse with them keep yourselves within the bounds necessary for the procreation of children. And inasmuch as you cannot otherwise have them, descend to it with regret.”–Augustine

        “Descend to it [sexual intercourse] with regret”. How psychologically healthy.

        • Jamie R

          Can you cite that?

        • Beccolina

          St. Augustine wrote many very great things, but he was not infallible, nor is every word he wrote inscribed in stone as the official teaching and belief of the Catholic Church. If you take the time to read what Bl. Pope John Paul II wrote on sexuality, you will understand why so many of us are finding this thread so very amusing. You have brightened my day, sir, and I shall remember you in my prayers.

          • kara

            I was going to bring up the non-infallibility issue, but you beat me to it. Cheers!

        • Mark Shea

          Cool! Do I get to quote one atheist, say Kim Jong Il, and declare it to be “What atheists think”? Augustine has a rather elaborate back story. He’s not the sole word on the Catholic view of sexuality.

          • Besides, if anything, Augustine is saying here that men should tame their own sexuality, not repress women’s.

            Augustine, along with much of the rest of the Christian world in the first few centuries, was still under the lingering influence of the pagan and non-Christian philosophy of the time – Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Stoicism and Manicheaism (Augustine was a Manichean for some time before reverting back to the Catholic faith), which saw the whole material world and the body as evil. Then too, most pagan philosophy saw reason as separating human beings from animals. Passion was seen, even by many of them, as destroying reason, hence the suspicion of sexuality. This is quite a difference from Judaism, which had a more healthy and natural view of sexuality as a good given by God — even you don’t believe me, read the Song of Songs!

            If there was something psychologically unhealthy in Augustine’s attitude, it came mostly from pagan philosophy, not the Judae0-Christian background. It took the Church as a whole some time to get over this hump. But some sixteen hundred years later, things are different. It should be obvious even to someone as unobservant as you, that no Catholic on this blog recognizes the caricature of Catholic teaching you have thrown at us. As others have said, please read Casti Connubii, Humanae Vitae and the whole of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, then get back to us.

            • Mark Shea

              Look, little lady, Catholics hate sex so much they made it a sacrament. Trust me. Full stop.

        • Kristen inDallas

          I believe the “it” in “descend to it” refers to the idea that one might not be able to have children.

  • The other Will

    And the Catholic Church is an eevull oppressive tyranny whose only purpose is to CONTROL people, and even worse, they won’t let women be part of it.

    • KML

      Ha! “Waiter, this dinner is terrible and the portion is too small.”

  • Dave Pawlak

    Prophetic words from HV:

    Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

    Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

  • ” Quite the opposite, as I showed–the attitudes of totalitarian regimes towards sexuality more closely resembles Catholic teaching than not, namely, women are birthing machines who must have intercourse as a duty to populate the State (or in your case, Church) but they musn’t enjoy it TOO much as women’s sexual desire is at best unknown and at worst outright denied, and it it must be under the firm command of a man at all times lest they get any ideas.”

    Can you provide any sources – meaning full citations — in Catholic teaching for any of this?

    Please get ideas on what Catholic teaching is on real Catholic teaching, not “what everyone knows” about Catholic teaching.

    • Mark Shea

      Female! Your better is correcting you! Your part is to be silent and let the *man* tell you what to think and do. He’s a feminist. You? You’re just a woman. Silence!

      • My last comment was a stray and should have been on the other piling-on-Dave thread above. But you know, we womens are just so dumb and helpless and can’t color within the lines . . .

        I’m loving this thread!

        • KML

          Me, too! Man, I am so lucky my husband gives me a few minutes on the internet every day.

          • Sus

            My husband took the ball and chain off so I could post. I’m jealous of the wives that get shoes btw. Winter sucks!

            3 kids max – we have a problem. I have 5. Which ones should I get rid of? Would it be unfair if we tossed the ones with the messier bedrooms?

            • Dave Pawlak

              It makes more sense to sell the ones with the neat bedrooms. The better-trained children fetch higher prices.

      • Richard Bell

        Mark, calling on catholic women to behave is flogging the sea. The only way I can get my wife out of the kitchen is to cook and she would just laugh when I asked her to wear socks as she washed the dishes. Between the cooking and the kids being grown enough to do the dishes, I may finally keep her out, but it has been a sisyphean (sp?) task.

        • Beccolina

          I hate letting other people loose in my kitchen, unless they are washing pots and pans. Right now, most of my kitchen help can’t see over the counter.

  • kara

    Aww! Ya’ll got out the troll-stomping boots without me! Shucks. Though, I suppose as a Catholic gal who’s happily married to the best man I know, raising a troup of Catholic babies in the country while pursuing a writing/teaching career, I’m not allowed to contribute.

  • I love this thread, Mark.

  • Katheryn

    Even though my comments aren’t near as witty as the rest, this was a welcome laugh for me. Thanks, Mark! I love just about all your bloggings.

  • Roberto

    I love how David finishes his gems of wisdom with “Full stop”. I think what he means that his brains has fully stopped thinking. When he decides to move further, maybe he’ll figure out what “reason” actually means.

    • Mark Shea

      “Full stop” is Enlightened Speak for “Shut Up.”

  • Dave Pawlak

    The game is up. Mr. Norris is right. I’m going to go downstairs and make sure my expectant wife hasn’t unchained herself from the kitchen stove and put on shoes…

  • Dave,

    You mean you let her keep shoes? In the house?

    • Dave Pawlak

      Well…they’re my shoes, to be exact. Leaves big footprints and easy to track in the snow. And when I catch her…as she’s the vessel for bearing my multitude of children, I have to be careful…I have something for her involving a Justin Bieber CD and a cowbell…

      • Rosemarie


        This comments thread definitely needs more cowbell.

      • Paula Gehringer

        Dave, Do you ring the cowbell when fertility is a go? I don’t even want to think why the Justin B, CD. A grateful wench who know her place will do her best to be at ready loveliness and submissiveness when she hears the clanging tone summoning her to the master’s chamber. No uppity back talk or improper saucy behaviors from us Catholic ladies; our husbands never have to reproach us for getting above ourselves. We all read the manual.

        “Think of England,. A proper young Catholic lady’s guide to being a vessel.”

        • Mark Shea

          This is inspiring. I can only hope David will approve of your simple-minded but well-meaning attempts at loosening the yoke of puritan celibacy laid on your shoulders by Augustine. There’s a good girl.

  • Linda C.

    “::crawls back to kitchen to finish dinner, pausing occasionally for contractions::”

    Best comment here, full stop (couldn’t resist). Say it, sister!

  • kmk

    I think our “overabundance” of children will be taking care of older people who do not have family of their own for various reasons (esp divorce, contraception, etc.). Not primarily financially, but compassionately, like the first generation of Roman Christians, rescuing the little rejected babies in the hills and taking care of them in love. I have run into a number of people who are thinking similar thoughts, and indeed are already doing this. God bless all of you caretakers, as well as those who take the risk and have more little precious ones!

    • Beccolina

      Yup. Neither of my older siblings is married or has children, and there are no prospects on the horizon. I have no doubt that my children will be caring for them thirty or forty years down the road. We bought the house we did in the location we did because I will be the one eventually taking care of my parents.

  • Marcus

    I find the “look how bad the traffic is” proof of overcrowding particularly funny. It’s on par with “it’s cold outside so global warming is a lie”.
    I used to live in a small town with a 5 minute commute. I moved to the 6th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. & now my 15 mile commute takes an hour. I prefer the “overcrowded” city though because with people comes stuff; parks, museums, restaurants, professional sports, retail… all stuff sorely lacking in small, spacious, traffic-free towns.