Dear Church Militant: We Read Books with Explicit Homosexual Content at FUS

Dear Church Militant: We Read Books with Explicit Homosexual Content at FUS January 13, 2019
Athenian Artwork of Pederast Courtship. Source: Louvre Museum, Wikipedia Commons

 

My freshman year at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I was required to read books that contained graphic sexual content, including graphic homosexual content.

 

I had never been exposed to such content in literature before. My father had decided that his children needed to be homeschooled so that we would be protected from content such as this, content that might destroy our innocence. I was raised with fear of the corrupting power of books with any kind of sexual content. If I was concerned, I’d give a book to my mother first to read and approve.

 

Imagine my shock freshman year when I learned what the term “buggering” was from Aristophanes’s The Clouds. Picture my discomfort when we read Plato’s Symposium (and fifteen other dialogues, including the Republic and Apology), all in my freshman year in Honors 102 under Dr. Michael Sirilla, a professor I loved and respected, head of the theology department masters program. These works are rife with explicit homosexual content, including pederasty (sexual acts between adult men and young boys). I distinctly remember Dr. Sirilla apologizing for this content, but requiring us to read it nonetheless.

 

These uncomfortable losses of innocence continued throughout my time at Franciscan University.

 

A dear friend in the other Honors section my freshman year cried when she was forced to read Lysistrata by Aristophanes because of how explicit and jarring the sexual content was (it has perhaps more sexual jokes and puns than any other Greek play, and pictures the men walking around with visible erections, among other things). I learned in my embryology class how homosexual sex acts are conducted, which I had never known before. I was frankly instructed in sexual anatomy and the male and female responses to sexual stimulation. I also learned in that class that semen tastes salty.

 

Yes, I learned these things in classes at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

 

My sophomore year in Honors, we read Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, in which I read passages such as: “They stuffed bitter vetch up the genital passages of their victims and drove sharp stakes into their seats.” The following semester we read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and unlike at Christendom, we weren’t warned to skip the explicit scenes.

 

My junior year, Dr. John Pilsner assigned a notoriously ribald text called Gargantua and Pentagruel by François Rabelais. Rather than avoiding the shockingly sexual scenes, Dr. Pilsner specifically assigned these parts (and skipped others). He explained that often, Rabelais used sexual, lewd, and grotesque content to reveal sacred and divine mysteries. As it’s put in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition:

The term ‘Rabelaisian humour’ can be generally taken to mean humour whose basis is any of the body parts (particularly the naughty ones), bodily noises, bodily functions, and the appetites including, of course, randy sex1.

He was a satirist and while his prose was sublime for its sheer inventiveness, he did not typically trouble himself with double entendre or any other form of subtlety. Instead, he elevated pure bawdiness to art, with a capital F.

 

I remember so many parts of this book that we discussed in that class, things I’d certainly have assumed counted as blasphemy. There was, for example, the litany to cod (cock) that represented a litany to the saints. There was the weird, grotesque scene of a woman smeared with a female dog’s scent gland who was chased through the streets, somehow representing a Eucharistic procession.

 

Is it shocking that Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pentagruel was a banned book at various times throughout history?

 

Like Sirilla, Pilsner also apologized for making us read such explicit things, but defended them as an insight into mystery. He emphasized Rabelais as one of the foremost innovative writers of the renaissance era.

 

So, dear Church Militant, Christine Niles, Laura Sirilla, Anne Hendershott, and everyone upset whose panties are in a wad that Dr. Stephen Lewis, my thesis advisor and a professor I admire very much indeed, assigned a book that contained sexual scenes: well, you’ll just have to be angry at Dr. Michael Sirilla and Dr. John Pilsner, too.

If you want to be angry that Dr. Lewis assigned The Kingdom in an advanced literature course, then be consistent. Be angry that Plato was assigned in a Great Books seminar. And if you can’t recognize how ignorant it would be to ban Plato, then I’m not sure you’re capable of the intellect needed to pursue a  liberal arts degree.

 

Universities exist  for the purpose of free exploration and education.

 

They are there to challenge our prejudices and assumptions and make us think, deeply and often uncomfortably. I was often shocked and made uncomfortable by the reading I assigned  in my classes at Franciscan University. However, as one of my favorite professors taught me, art ought to make us uncomfortable. If it doesn’t make us uncomfortable, it isn’t doing it’s job as art. Moreover, what you seem to have missed about this particular book that Dr. Lewis assigned is that Lewis was not endorsing the content. He assigned it to be analyzed in contrast to Christian depictions of biblical literature and understanding. This is vital training for a literature scholar who will likely move on to secular schools and encounter far more shocking works.

 

I am glad I read each of these works during my education. My education would have been lacking in richness and depth if it had skipped any one of them. Reading them under the guidance of Dr. Sirilla and Dr. Pilsner made me respect these works and these professors more, not less.

 

So untangle those panties, why don’t you. Or at least be consistent, for fuck’s sake.

 

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pederastic_courtship_Louvre_CA3096_n2.jpg

About Marie Kopp
Marie Kopp is our foundress. She graduated in May with her bachelor’s degree in English writing and now wanders (a bit lost, usually) around Spain teaching English at a truly lovely Catholic school. She hopes to pursue Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) so that she can continue working with immigrants and refugees as she did two summers ago in Kansas City, Missouri. You can read more about the author here.
"I don't know if Ms. Johnson's story is entirely true or embellished, but I doubt ..."

A Trilogy of Pro-Life Films You ..."
"Recommended, if you like young adult fiction at all: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. The ..."

Agony in the Garden: Their Voices ..."
"So true nowhere is a place free of those crimes BUT those crimes are also ..."

Agony in the Garden: Their Voices ..."
"Nowhere on earth is free of sin."

Agony in the Garden: Their Voices ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Laura Pittenger

    Marie, well done.

  • Ancalagon

    “So, dear Church Militant, Christine Niles, Laura Sirilla, Anne Hendershott, and everyone upset whose panties are in a wad that Dr. Stephen Lewis, my thesis advisor and a professor I admire very much indeed, assigned a book that contained sexual scenes: well, you’ll just have to be angry at Dr. Michael Sirilla and Dr. John Pilsner, too.”

    The quote you posted from Laura Sirilla asserts that the text contains “sexual blasphemy.” Most of the criticisms I’ve seen focus on this aspect, and it should be obvious that the critics are concerned because of the allegedly sacrilegious nature of the text, not so much because it contains lude references.

    I haven’t read the book, so i have no idea if the complaints are legitimate, by the way.

  • Mary

    If that litany to the cod isn’t a portrayal of “sexual blasphemy,” I don’t know what is. And apparently that was okay.

  • Jim Russell

    ***So untangle those panties, why don’t you. Or at least be consistent, for fuck’s sake.***

    Another FUS alumna vulgarian here on Patheos. How many of you are there?

  • Mary

    Lulz.

  • chezami

    Totally still a Deacon Sea Lion weighs in to strain at gnats and swallow camels. A petty little Puritan who stalks people and destroys the lives of innocent people whose boots he is not worthy to lick. Your Cult Militant is a stain and a cancer on the Church. St. Louis is insane if they ever restore you to the diaconate you disgrace, you vile bully.

  • nicole

    What about song of songs in the bible. Should we remove that just for CM and the like? You know youg adults might find out that other people have sex.

    Can anybody explain this puritanical cultur to me? I just don’t get it. It is literature for heaven’s sake. If we had to remove all sex scenes from all books just imagine how poor our literature would be. Sexuality is an essential part of the human experience.

  • Dr. Sebastian Mahfood

    Wow, and I thought my publishing something like this would cause trouble. https://enroutebooksandmedia.com/childrenofslate/

  • Dorothy

    Well, presumably CM didn’t know about it until now. From what I gather from Christine Niles, it’s sources were FUS faculty members. The background to the story is the FUS faculty war. But no doubt parents will now want to know why the blasphemies of Rabelais are so important to their children’s education.

  • disqus_TJkP8Ci1Sb

    This is what I don’t understand. The Catholic Church is not puritanical. Why do we let CM and other organizations pretend it is? People are letting CM dictate how Catholics are educated, and honestly, that isn’t their job. Are we no longer reading Shakespeare? Because news flash, Church Militant, he wasn’t exactly virginal in his writing. Either we are okay with Liberal Arts or we aren’t, but that isn’t up to Church Militant to decide.

  • Dorothy

    I’m saddened by the description of your friend crying over Lysistrata. A rough intellectual deflowering can hurt–and leave scars. There are sensitive ways of presenting these texts, and it should also be worth considering that Plato didn’t intend his work to be read by very carefully protected 17 year old girls. Although we disagree with the 5th c. Athenian belief that teenage girls who aren’t sex workers shouldn’t see plays or read philosophy, it is worth considering the feelings of sexually modest students–especially at a college where girls have been sexually assaulted by authority figures. Education should be a leading out, not a forced march or a rape. “Too bad, kids! Grow up! This is Culture, buggery, blasphemy and all! It will turn you homeschooled rubes into Paris-worthy Sophisticates!” is not a good philosophy of education. I hope student life counsellors are taking seriously the hurt of sexually modest students and not just shaming them with, “But Aristophanes is so IMPORTANT!” Yes, he is (in certain circles). But so are the students.

    I’m also astonished that anyone is forced to read Rabelais. I have degrees in Classical Civilisation, English Literature and Theology from the University of Toronto, and although of course I have read Plato and Aristophanes, I was never forced to read Rabelais—or, to my recall, any explicitly pornographic or blasphemous work. (Presumably “Ulysses” was an elective.) Nor were the mechanics of sterile sexual acts explained to me by professors. If FUS grads wonder if that’s normal—that’s not normal.

    I was 100% on the side of Professor Lewis against the anonymous colleagues who sicced the media on him until I read this post. Still sympathetic to Lewis, actually, but now wondering about the way professors use their power at FUS.

  • nicole

    The funny thing is pretty much throught all of the last 1000 years the catholic church was criticised for being to open about sex. Catholics always liked to have a bit of “fun”. There were monks writting about sex, and not just chastity books. There were treaties about the female orgasm for example.

    I can understand that people are critical of the liberal arts but being this puritanical is just ridiculous. Maybe those catholic colleges are just really strange but even in my technical university we constantly discussed sex and the like.

  • Margaret Taylor Ulizio

    One of the most notable things in all these discussions about the Kingdom and FUS is everyone’s use of the terms “child” and “children” when referring to upper level college students. They aren’t children, they are adults. I looked at the comment section at Church Militant, and every other comment was about how FUS wasn’t protecting the children, as if a university is not more than a daycare. Do parents really think it is appropriate to monitor the reading material of their adult children? What an embarrassment. If the Catholic intellectual tradition thinks it can move forward and speak to the challenges the future will bring, it has got to do better than a bunch of parents screeching about their inability to control everything their adult children might encounter, even at a Catholic university. I have started reading the book, and haven’t hit any of the naughty parts yet (in other words there is a lot more to the book than what is being reported). Much of it so far is an autobiographical account of the author’s own religious experience, and I find it really interesting.

  • Sarah

    I actually read Rabelais for the first time in honours English in high school, and for the record, yes it was a Catholic school. We were reading Gulliver’s Travels (unabridged) at the time, and our teacher wanted to give us some examples of similar uses of grotesque imagery. I’d say I was pretty sheltered, and amazingly not scarred for life.

    I now have a couple of degrees in Comparative Literature (University of Alberta and University of Toronto), and I most definitely had assigned reading both as an undergrad and grad student that contained explicit material. Yes, I found some of it a bit shocking (I really should have read a synopsis before we watched David Cronenberg’s Crash), but I was old enough to realize that it was meant to be educational, not titillating, and that my hang ups were my own. There was also assigned (and required) reading that could be considered blasphemous. For example, studying modern Quebecois literature I ran into A Season in the Life of Emmanuel more than once. It’s an important text in the context of societal change in Quebec in the 60s, but it paints the Church (particularly religious) in a very unflattering and explicitly sexual light.

    If a professor knows a lot of their students have been incredibly sheltered it may make sense to preface the material for them (at least for a first year class), but that doesn’t mean that they can’t, or shouldn’t cover those texts at all. To censor literature that way does their students a great intellectual disservice.

  • Dorothy

    I suspect I got my non-theology degrees long before you did and specialised in different periods, which would explain the lack of explicit stuff. I read a lot of Aristophanes (and acted in Aristophanes) without turning a hair or bursting into tears, but then I started university at 19, not 17, and I wasn’t homeschooled. My own Catholic school was relatively careful–oh, the gasps when we all saw Romeo’s bare behind in Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Funny, now, but also touching.

    I agree that censorship is wrong (I don’t think anyone should actually BAN Rabelais) but I think there should be more student freedom to choose the mental furniture which which one will stock one’s mind. At U of T, at least in the 90s, students had a lot of freedom in choosing courses, and within courses there was a certain amount of choice of what books you were going to read. Also, I hate the idea that sexual modesty is a “hang up.” I know for a fact that some Catholic undergrads drink themselves into a stupor to conquer their “hang ups” in order to have sex. The poor things have no idea that not wanting to have sex with strangers is good, healthy, normal and known to non-Catholics. Being embarrassed by sex scenes in Cronenberg films is a healthy sign of modesty, not a psychological problem, if you’ll pardon me for saying so.

    One thing about studying at secular universities: by the time you graduate, you don’t think obscenity or ability to wade through porn are signs of intellectual sophistication.

    You also learn that Catholics don’t “own” the Blessed Virgin Mary and that we aren’t the only sexually modest people around.

  • Sarah

    Perhaps “hang up” wasn’t the right choice of terms, as it implies that there’s something wrong about finding certain topics uncomfortable; there certainly isn’t. On the whole I think we’re in agreement.

    Particularly for students starting out in academia, I do think the occasional content warning is appropriate, mostly they can prepare themselves for what they’re studying, not so it can be taken off the curriculum entirely. I do think there’s a benefit to needing to navigate difficult or challenging texts in a critical, academic framework, but there’s also a lot of modern literature that aims to shock simply for shock’s sake, and which gets far too much praise in academia these days.

    I started undergrad when I was 18 in the very late 90s, and grad school in the early 2000s, and while I had quite a bit of choice in what courses to take, most of the reading lists within those courses weren’t particularly flexible, even at the graduate level, so some things have definitely changed over the years. It may also be a function of the quirks of individual universities and departments.

    By the time I got to the Cronenberg while working on my MA, I largely considered it my own fault that I hadn’t done a bit of research first and got blindsided by it. By the time I got to grad school I was aware that I’d made some very different life choices than my peers, and had a different level of familiarity with/exposure to certain things. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my embarrassment, but also considered my own morals and comfort levels to be my own responsibility, not the responsibility of my professors. For the record, it’s definitely not a film that I ever plan to see again, nor would recommend to anyone, but I understand why the prof assigned it in that particular course.

    From what I gather with the text in question that was assigned at FUS, the topic of the seminar was particularly looking at ways the secular media present Catholicism, and how faithful Catholics might respond to it, so I think in that context it seems a very appropriate inclusion on the syllabus. I haven’t read the book in question however, so take that with a grain of salt.

  • Ame

    I appreciate your perspective as a current student at FUS, with the maturity to understand that most of the examples you listed are legitimate uses of academic freedom to teach difficult lessons of life in the world we live in. My two contentions specifically concerning The Kingdom are 1) the sexual debasement of a woman and mother we Catholics happen to believe is a real historical person [really, would you read a book that mused on Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s or Former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s or Mother Teresa’s presumed bedroom antics as part of some illogical point about sexuality and not feel the impulse to call out on the use of another patriarchal book that jests in its sexual objectification of real women? Or at least consider it time to drop your course] and 2) the use of the defense of academic freedom without responsibility for its consequences. Ethically, one must consider whether the material is the right and just means to an end, rather than selecting because it’s sure to shock people into thinking why a person could write such things.

    Yeah, art can make people uncomfortable and it is important to be willing to engage in that discomfort as an important examination of oneself and society, but there are far better choices to achieve that goal than from an overrated author who gets lauded for the occcasional insight of the paradoxes of Christianity despite his own vile treatment of women’s sexuality. I will forever recommend Gloria Anzaldua’s “Borderlands” because no matter how provoking her counternarrative to the Church and Mary, she treats her subjects with solemnity, as the voice of the Other crying in the wilderness, struggling to be free.

  • Jerry

    Says the apostle of Francis the Merciful’s special brand of charity and compassion.

    No seriously, that comment above drips with a degree of hate and venom that is positively disturbing.

  • Dorothy

    I too think we are in agreement. What distresses me about this internecine FUS war that the rest of the world has been invited into via CM and LSN is that it has so quickly devolved into a slanging match, one side calling the other “prude” or “pervert”.

    It would help settle the dispute, I think, if the course aims, schedule and booklist were released to the public, so that everyone could see for themselves why the professor himself thought the work worth addressing. If a student honestly recalls that the professor warned the class that they would find several pages very distressing, that would be helpful too.

  • Sarah

    I’m afraid that I don’t have access to a comprehensive list of the libraries of every saint who ever lived. I suspect at least a few of them probably read Shakespeare, or Chaucer, or Rabelais though.

    I do think that there are some books that aren’t worth reading, even in an academic context, but to purge our universities of anything that even has a whiff of explicit content denies our students (who are, incidentally, adults) the ability to engage with the world in an informed and critical manner. There’s a pretty big difference between “critical analysis of a culturally or historically important text” and “glorifying sexual sin”. The stuff I had to read at university certainly wasn’t titillating, even when it did get a bit graphic. You also assume that all works with explicit content always paint that content in a morally positive light. I can assure you that they do not.

    I think the trend towards culturally insular Catholicism deprives our future writers, artists, etc. of the experience and skills they need to continue the Church’s great artistic legacy. It also makes us less and less able to be salt and light for the world, since we’re hiding from that world with our fingers stuck in our ears hoping that if we ignore it, it will go away.

  • Margaret Taylor Ulizio

    I absolutely disagree. It is an aberration to have parents micromanaging their children’s education when said children are adults. If your kid isn’t capable of handling controversial subjects by the time they are in their early 20s, then you have done a poor job as a parent. What is so pathetic about this FUS situation is how many parents are still speaking for their adult children. I have a 7th grade daughter, and when she has an issue at school we expect her to speak up for herself first before resorting to us. Upper level college students are not children, they are adults. If one of them in the course had a problem with the reading, he or she should have gone to the professor rather than running home to mommy. What have the students in the course said about their experience. I would rather hear from them, but apparently their parents won’t allow them to be grown-ups. We are all impressionable, even old people. That is no excuse for treating adults like they are infants.

  • nicole

    You don’t get what an education is for. You get educated to engage with the world not to be sheltered from it. Yes the book is blasphemy. I’m not defending it. However, have you ever spend a good 10′ talking to atheists? Trust me saying the blessed virgin masturbated is the nicest thing that comes out of some of their mouths. How should we as catholics be able to handle attacks on our faith and the blessed virgin, we need to know the other side. That is why such books need to be read. I know a few catholics who totally live in their bubbles and it is so difficult to engage with them. They do not understand how regular people think.

    I’m a computer scientist and during my uni times in the “programming” classes that we had we studied bad code, i.e. stuff you should not do. We studied absolute bs in order to know what not to do. Unis are not bubbles they are places to engage with the world and broaden your horizon.

  • nicole

    It depends where you study. I studied at one of the top 10 unis in the world and paid approx. 600$ a semester. The reason for that is that my government functions properly.

    I am not a fan of everybody going to uni. In fact i think most liberal arts degrees are useless. I prefer our system where only the “best” 10-20% go to uni and the rest learns a (often) well paying job via an apprenticeship. So even for white collar work you do not need a BA.

    As for the topic of sex in a liberal arts education. I never said that students should only or mostly learn about sex. However, sex is part of the human experience. Reading only books without any sexual content just does not work. How should a student learn about the world, God and literature without every encountering sexual content. Obviously sex should only be a small part of everything but it should be there, because it is part of human cultur. Humans have sex, talk about sex, think about sex and write about it. You can have individual works without sex but the entite western canon without sex is rather inthinkable.

    Btw i find that catholics are the ones who most often speak about different forms of sex or sex related topics. It is just amazing how many times chastits, contraception and homosexuality comes up in a conversation with other catholics. Sometimes i think catholics have no other topics to discuss. When have you last had a nice conversation with catholics about just war?

  • nicole

    Well yes but that is not enough. We are called to share the gospel with others. We (at least i) live in a secular society. How can anyone invite others to the faith if we do not understand their way of thinking? How do you want to engage an atheist if you are scandalized by every second word they say?
    We have to be able to react even to insults and inappropriate things like adults.

    Just an example during uni i taught a programming course to 6th graders. One of them decided to draw a penis on his computer. I calmly told him to delete it and go back to work. He wanted to provoke me. Had i reacted harder he would have continued. This way that never happened again.
    The same thing goes for atheists. Don’t ever get angry. They only say such things to provoke and fell superior. If you are unprepared for such things, you will have a harder time at that.

  • nicole

    Respectfully i disagree. Apparitions and other private revelations are not mandatory for catholics to believe. Does the catechism state that sexual sin is what damns most souls to hell? If i’m not mistaken, the church never said anybody was definitely in hell. Lust is one of the traditional 7 deadly sins. I believe we do ourselves a huge disservice if we ignore the other 6.

    Even if a majority of the human race primarily struggle with lust. Many still have other issues and problems. Those need to be talked about as well. I’m a revert to the catholic church and honestly i never found sexual sin to be a big deal. With a strong enough will and the grace of God (almost) all sexual sin can be easily avoided.

    Why would you not discuss sexual matters in a coed class? Keep in mind the people in this class are adults. If statistics are to be trusted most of them have already watched porn. By the time you are 18 you should know how the human body functions. I’m not sure about american cultur but in my cultur we learn about sex as children in coed classes and it never is a problem. Why should young american adults not be able to handle the same thing that children elsewhere can?

    Another thing, i might be wrong about this, i doubt our culture is really more sex-soaked than others. (local) history is a hobby of mine. It appears people had always had a thing for public lewdness and sex. There are stories of school toilets/outhouses beinh smeared with sexual texts and so on. Heck go 2-3 generations back and most people had to get married, because pregnancy.

    God bless you

    P.S. I’m sorry if i said anything wrong. Sometimes it is hard to think into another cultural context.

  • chezami

    You and your vicious cult have just successfully destroyed the good name of a faithful son of the Church and you have the *gall* to talk about charity and compassion? Repent, you miserable Pharisee.

  • LW

    “I learned in my embryology class how homosexual sex acts are conducted, which I had never known before. I was frankly instructed in sexual anatomy and the male and female responses to sexual stimulation. I also learned in that class that semen tastes salty.”

    Marie, why is this noteworthy? Had you not been homeschooled, you would have learned this in 8th or 9th grade health class.

  • Ame

    The more I think of it, the more I think Simone Weil’s writings would be richer fare for students to dive into than The Kingdom.

  • a sinner

    According to your logic, I have sinned by reading your post, because it mentions and calls to my mind those acts. You have been a near occasion of sin for me. Repent.

  • a sinner

    That applies if the material is porn- as in logging onto the internet to read bodice rippers. But if material has sinful things in it- and the reader does not subscribe or get any enjoyment from reading, but has the intent to read for understanding the nature of sin, for example, or to be informed of the dangers that in the world- how can that be sinful? By the same token, I could have sinned by reading the Church Militant site’s descriptions of the readings. Or Richard’s descriptions of sexual sins above…

  • ace

    Agree with this choice (Weil).

    But, speaking of other voices, have you read “Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8” by Naoki Higashida (A Young Man’s Voice From the Silence of Autism)? I started reading it before I looked up a YouTube on him. I’ve been around lots of people with differing disabilities, several with autism or autistic traits, BUT, watching Naoki on YouTube and thinking about and imagining how difficult it is for him to write, one letter at a time, was painful. I had to stop reading his writing and poetry for a bit while I integrated these perceptions (a way different experience than, for example, seeing and reading Temple Grandin – whose book “Thinking in Pictures” would also be a good choice).

  • Paul

    You really should know better than to write filth like that where any innocent passerby on the internet could read it.

  • Lacemaker

    Richard has quite the stick up his butt.

  • Paul

    Until reading the comments here of people such as yourself claiming to be shocked, I had no idea of the exact nature of the objectionable material. It is horrible, but you share it with embarrassing relish.

  • Pollos Hermanos

    Oh go fuck yourself you papist nutter.

  • Pollos Hermanos

    Nah.

    I’ve been directly on the receiving end of abuse from the crackpots over at Church Militant.

    Anybody associated with that badly wigged nutball can kindly go fuck themselves.

  • Pollos Hermanos

    “Almighty God” has much bigger fish to fry than an occasional F bomb.

    Pretty sure he’s madder about hucksters using his name to make a buck than he is about a word that wasn’t directed at him.

  • Pollos Hermanos

    Weird that you think throwing a meaningless passage at me is going to make me stop.

    Your voodoo only works on people who give a shit.

  • Andrew Sorokowski

    You cannot cultivate purity if you don’t know its opposite. You cannot cultivate Christian virtue if you don’t understand what it opposes, and why. Nor can you be firm in your rejection of pornography until you see its ugliness — indeed, its banality — in contrast to the beauty of true art. It is only by studying the classics of literature that we can learn to distinguish good literature from bad. To call Rabelais or Aristophanes pornographers is to be culturally ignorant. And that’s what a narrow education brings. Moreover, the under-educated are often the first to fall. The university is the time when one is exposed to the fallen world around us, and learns to resist it.

  • harveydude

    I presume your comment was not directed at me, but at the writer who put forward such ideas.
    If it was meant for me, then you obviously don’t know what the discussion is about.

  • Andrew Sorokowski

    Sir,
    It would be good if we could insulate everyone, including ourselves, from the temptations of the world. But this has never been possible. It’s hard enough to protect children’s tender souls from vicious influences — though of course we must. So the only option is to toughen ourselves against sin — once we’re old enough — i.e., college age. Just as the best way to resist disease is to build up immunity through limited exposure, so the best way to defeat temptation is to know it for what it is. Only then can we understand its falseness, and thus defeat it.

  • Andrew Sorokowski

    Thank you for prompting me to look up the passage you cite, and to read the commentary “Shun Immorality, Shun Idolatry” on the facing page of my Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament (2nd Catholic edition, RSV), which I imagine our friends at Steubenville would regard as authoritative. In light of all this, I do not see why you think God disagrees with me. Nowhere do I advocate immoral behavior or idolatry. I only say: know thy enemy — the better to reject him.

  • Neko

    What agenda would that be.

    By the way, I’ve been reading the actual book, and it’s delightful. James Woods’ review in the New Yorker (he who memorably once called the Thomistic God a “vapor”) is a rave.

  • Andrew Sorokowski

    I understand it, of course, though apparently differently from you. Perhaps you have read the original Greek; I have not. Certainly one must flee from immoral activity. I think you understand it to mean that one should also flee from all mention of immoral activity. That means you would censor not only many of the classics of world literature, but even parts of the Old Testament. I would not go so far.
    That said, I think we agree that our media are polluted by immorality, and that it should not be “glorified.”
    God bless you as well.

  • Semper Incipit

    “he Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrère also fails in that it hints that Luke may have invented Christ’s Resurrection and that the tradition of the Holy Eucharist might have originated with Paul during his visit to Philippi” I guess we should refrain from reading anything from the Judaizers since they believed some similar things?

  • Semper Incipit

    Wait, are you seriously suggesting that we nix Plato? Are you serious? Plato?

  • Semper Incipit

    So we should refrain from reading Protestant writings that also blaspheme the Mother of God? Good Lord you people are snowflakes. It is evident that you do not desire education at these schools but indoctrination.

  • Semper Incipit

    This is amazing. How our Catholic forebears would balk at such coddling and handholding your suggest. In times Medieval, students were sent to university at as young as 16 to be educated in the books Ms. Kopp discusses. No professor there, prior to the Reformation and the advent of Puritanism, thought of deleting Chacer because of the bawdy and explicit content therein. They did not shield students from the graphic works of Ovid, Catullus, and Hesiod.

    Rather, they guided them, showing them the virtue along with the vices. Heaven save us. The self-proclaimed traditionalists are attacking traditional Catholic education.

  • Semper Incipit

    One wonders how a cleric could be so concerned with comment sections of random blogs. Are there not enough works of God to occupy the good deacon’s time? If not, why are his services required?

  • Semper Incipit

    Don’t be so coy Deacon. You know as well as the rest of us that the FUS administration only made that determination when your friends at CM sicked a mob after them.

    False equivalency? Let’s look at Hesiod. First, there is the blasphemy that there is not only a God besides God, but there are many. Moreover, the chief of these gods engages in numerous adulteries. This is a major, recurring theme throughout the book.

    Then there is “The Kingdom.” In it, the author spends a few pages to go on a bizarre digression about his sexual musings about Mary.

    So which is the greater blasphemy? Hesiod’s or Carrère’s? If the latter, why is blasphemy against God himself less egregious than blasphemy against Mary?

  • Semper Incipit

    You inferred them here:

    “So why would you, your professors and you University assign and study works that glorify deadly sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments?”

  • Semper Incipit

    “Every student is different.” The Western Canon is not. If you are going to market yourself as a Great Books program and a liberal arts college, you need to study Plato. Our Catholic forebears in education would be ashamed to read your comment. The founders of Bologna, Oxford, Paris, and others would hang their heads in shame to see Catholics abandon our intellectual traditions for the sake of some over scrupulous prudishness.

  • Semper Incipit

    I find it hilarious you juxtapose “You are so ignorant” with “God bless.”

    You obviously haven’t read Plato’s Symposium, which Ms. Kopp referenced above wherein Plato argues that the Athenian practice of pederasty was totes awesome. You must be also ignorant of Aristophanes’ The Clouds, wherein he rather graphically–my translation said “wide asses”–calls Platonic philosophers practicing homosexuals.

    I do not see how I am a bigot. That is rather bizarre.

    The Catholic Church invented the university. That is true. I referenced three of the most famous ones in my last post. If you knew that, I would think you would have not bothered to remind me of a fact I not only demonstrably knew, bu formed the basis for one of my arguments i.e. Catholic intellectual traditions have not catered to the prudishness of sentiment when studying the arts.

  • Semper Incipit

    By the way, please name a Catholic college you think is “doing it right.” I’ll wait.

  • Semper Incipit

    Ah, so none? You really think no Catholic college exists that meets your standards?

    Jokes on you. The curriculum at the University of Paris included Hesiod and Aristophanes who include explicit, pornographic content.

  • Semper Incipit

    So you didn’t find the bit where Alcibiades states he let Socrates have sex with him was pornographic?

    Again, how is this bigoted or anti-Catholic?

  • Semper Incipit

    “The University of Paris did not have a curriculum in the 14th Century.” Yes it did. Go look up the Trivium.

    So what Catholic colleges are, in your mind, up to scratch?

  • Semper Incipit

    I suppose now you will say that Transubstantiation was not a reality until the term was defined. If you knew anything about classical learning that was popular in the medieval universities, you’d know the term Trivium was ascribed to the Liberal Arts of classical antiquity.

    The University of Paris included things such as Priscian’s Grammar and Aristotle’s Dialectics. Please don’t try an opine on things you clearly don’t know or understand.

    You still haven’t demonstrated how I am a bigot.

  • Semper Incipit

    Clearly you never read the Symposium.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Semper Incipit:

    Again: Learn to read.

    “First Known Use of trivium
    1647, in the meaning defined above”

    Catholic students who attend an alleged Catholic University have a right to learn about their Catholic faith.

    Do not be an anti-Catholic bigot.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Semper Incipit

    I just referenced it. Have you not read it? Have you read Aristophanes? Euripides? Aeschylus? Sophocles? Hesiod?

  • Semper Incipit

    Learn to form a coherent argument.

  • Semper Incipit

    So…how do you know The Kingdom was intended to arouse? If what is written in the Symposium is not pornographic because it does not intend to arouse–it depicts erotic behavior and you would know that if you read it–then neither can the Kingdom be considered pornographic.

  • Semper Incipit

    I didn’t go to FUS. I went to TMC.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Condolences.

    Another racket.

    Hopefully you are not carrying debt with interest.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Semper Incipit

    Racket? Seriously, which colleges ARE good enough for you?

  • Richard W Comerford

    The University of Paris held that knowledge is a free gift from God and it could neither be sold or bought. The teachers and staff were paid by the King and the Church. The students paid their room and board independent of the University. Some poor students had their room and board paid for by the King or Church..

    The Jesuits hold the same view. Indeed every year they vote to make an exception to this principal and charge tuition.

    BTW according to the GAO 40% to 45% of USG assets are students loans with their accumulated interest.

    Modern education is an immoral criminal racket.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Semper Incipit

    “The University of Paris held that knowledge is a free gift from God and it could neither be sold or bought.” Citation?

    So basically you contend none are…because they cost money?

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Semper Incipit:

    And how much college debt do you have?

    And are you paying interest on it?

    And are you working in a job that is the same as your college major?

    And are you working?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Semper Incipit

    None.

    Zero.

    Which one?

    Search: Government Shutdown

  • Richard W Comerford

    So you attended college for free?

    And did your cohorts also?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Semper Incipit

    No, I just wasn’t an idiot.

    My classmates are pretty much working and debt free now.

    So come out with it. Where is the Catholic college on a hill?

  • Richard W Comerford

    Mr. Semper Incipit:

    So you and your cohorts magically attended a private, 4-year undergraduate college pretty much for free?

    Amazing.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Dave G.

    You might want to consider looking in the mirror when you say that. I think some major repentance needs to be in your future, too.

  • Ame

    Virtue of prudence you lack. God deliver you from not knowing when and what is most helpful to open your mouth or type your keyboard. God bless.

  • Ame

    I do not believe in either extreme. Yes, not all sexual content is porn. Porn purposely objectifies while most literature, especially classical literature merely observes for some greater commentary, whether awe over the gift of human sexuality or exposing the absurdity of the circumstances we get ourselves into with humor and facetiousness (and yes, classical to 1800s humor tends to be more crass than our standards developed since the Victorian era…even medieval handwritten Bibles featured illustrations of the more sinful sexual behaviours to be avoided in the bedroom, with comical detail). Today, we may also read sexual content to learn about the biology of sex or experiences that less represented individuals have or are part of exposing the abuse of people through sexual means. Such things can be rightfully expected in places of higher learning. But porn is not necessary to teach, not even for exposing people to analyze the opposite of virtue. Lust is the opposite of chastity, and it does not exist only in porn. And just because most porn for public consumption one encounters is legal don’t make it less damaging to the human psyche, as it is also designed to desensitizes our sense of humanity towards its human subjects, create unrealistic expectations in real life relationships, and to be addictive, because it is a business for people to make money. And those making the most money have caught on that the internet makes it even easier to use legal, consensual porn as a backdoor to sexual abuse of minors, sex slavery, and human trafficking. Porn distorts the mind of the viewer, turning one into a voyuer at best to another abuser at worst. Books are not even innoculated from that effect thanks to those like Larry Flynn who have succeeded in convincing courts that abuse (porn) in print or film is free speech. As a college student, I have gone to the bookstores to find your typical “vanilla” smut near the store front and “coming of age” books featuring beastlity and sexual encounters with minors on the shelves in the back. These things, plus actress Emma Thompson’s documentaries on sex trafficking and Ashton Kutcher’s work helping law enforcement stop child sexual abuse to name impactful influences, that made me question the entire sex industry (hint: it ain’t sex positive nor empowering). So to have professors use and defend porn (not just sexual content) imprudently or recklessly in their pedogogy is both morally and philosophically wrong: the ends do not justify the means.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Ms. Ames:

    Thank you for your reply.

    Sadly over the last two months, since my original post, the evidence does now appear to be overwhelming that the ladies in question are indeed involved in some sort of occult/witch group; and that the book in question is both blasphemous and pornographic.

    This raises the question as to how ‘Catholic’ FUS could hire a Department head who assigns, as mandatory reading, blasphemous and pornographic material?

    This also raises the question as to how ‘Catholic’ FUS could allow to flourish an apparent witches coven?

    BTW your “Virtue of prudence” is often used as an excuse for cowardice. Prudence is – the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason – see Webster. It is not a reason to abandon Christ in order to be one of the cool kids.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  • Ame

    I’ve already expressed that it is wrong to use the book in question. It is wrong and slanderous to insist these women are witches without real evidence, and extracting a few lines of text out of context from their writings is insufficient. You are taking your witch hunt literally too far. As for their presence on Catholic Patheos, Patheos is a blog forum for different religious and nonreligious discussions. I do not even see a mission statement saying that the writers necessarily have to be representative of each channel’s respective religion. In fact I think they only divide the channels into different religions for the sake of orderliness. Looking to Patheos to be an academic enterprise or a soap box for religious purity is unrealistic. It would be more proper to monitor Catholic Answers or the Catholic newspapers or even Church Militant to make sure that accurate Church teaching is provided. As for FUS, you ain’t going to reform the university by plaguing writers at a blog site that has little influence on university administration. You’re wasting energy when there are bigger fish to fry.

  • Richard W Comerford

    Ms. Ames:

    Thank you for your reply.

    There is overwhelming, documented evidence that Dr. Lewis, his lovely wife, Ms. Kopp and Ms. Weiss have engaged in the direct or indirect promotion of witchcraft, the occult, abortion and other weirdness at or around FUS and other locations.

    FUS promotes itself as an orthodox, Catholic University. It assures hard working, self sacrificing Catholic parents that it offers a wholesome, moral atmosphere wherein their children can safely live and learn.

    Yet FUS hired people who in addition to promoting witchcraft, the occult, abortion also poisoned the minds of innocent students with blasphemy and pornography.

    FUS not only lied to Catholic parents and betrayed the students entrusted to it; but betrayed Christ. .

    See

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/catholic-feminist-witches-and-the-convivium-connection

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/steubenville-alumni-attack-conservative-profs

    Better that FUS had never been opened. Shut it down.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford