Saturday, July 30, 2011

Real men and their sexual disorders.

Not all men of course - just the disordered ones.
I've known a lot of guys who maybe could have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, although I'm pretty sure their problem had more to do with religious fundamentalist tendencies and excessive moral rigidity, than anything clinical.  Although maybe not, since the problem played out more like an obsessive compulsive disorder regarding romance and sexuality - and not like a virgin, rather like a Puritan.  I suppose a confessor or spiritual director would call it scrupulosity. 
With some guys it is just a phase in spiritual development - shortly after one's conversion some guys seem to be almost overcome at times with sexual temptation - and obsessing over it, they frequently fall.  Boing!  After a fall they become even more rigid and severe - like a Puritan.  Gradually they believe they can repress even the least movement to lust - but the tension builds. Boing!
However, as a bit self-mastery increases, some of us can become rather smug about our successes in the battle - while becoming  rather moralistic regarding everyone else.  It's a fine balance, beset with many temptations - especially to pride, yet there is nothing like humility to obtain grace in abundance - as well as that balance.
That said, a friend alerted me to a rather good post on the subject of real men and their romantic/sexual disorders.  At least that's how I would term it.  It's a woman's perspective on tradsters and their personal regime, and I think some readers may recognize someone they know here.  Especially those guys who are bound and determined to replicate an earlier ideal of family life, such as the perfect Father Knows Best style family.  (No one ever actually lived like that BTW.)
Real men.
When, after a lackadaisical childhood catechesis, years spent doing my own thing, and a dramatic conversion experience, I came back to the Catholic Church in 2002, I found that there was a New York City subculture I had never known existed: the subculture of young orthodox and Traditionalist Catholics. Many of this subculture’s adherents were actively looking for a mate, and I dated a few of them, which was an experience unlike anything I was familiar with from my own long romantic struggles. 
Many of the men in this subculture were what I can only call essentially wounded in their masculinity. It was as if their self-identification as men had been haphazardly constructed out of subversive images of masculinity refracted to them from the culture; as if, finding certain norms of masculinity repellent (not without reason, it must be said), and not having had male role models to demonstrate for them any ontological qualities of manhood, these young men had skirted around the edges of male behavior, and had finished by taking affect for essence. Their own masculinity seemed to have been forged in opposition and negation, cobbled together out of strong, oppositional attitudes to what repelled them culturally, rather than out of any positive attitudes, such as the wish to take on essential male roles -- engaging, for instance, in meaningful ways in the existential struggle to fight real enemies, and providing for and protecting the vulnerable, including women and children. In addition, some of these men seemed to have self-consciously adopted certain styles, tastes, hobbies, and mannerisms associated with other times and places than twenty-first-century New York, identifying themselves more with, say, Europe before World War I, or fin-de-siècle Paris, or the New York of the Gilded Age. One man from this set whom I dated asked me seriously once whether I considered myself American (he didn’t, in spite of the fact that, like me, he was).

I have no answers to the problems of wounded masculinity and femininity in the Church. We are all essentially broken, after all. Nonetheless, when one of us is wounded in this fundamental way, and acts out of his woundedness, and does damage to others as a result of it, the entire Mystical Body of Christ suffers. I hope and pray that priests and laypeople may work together to heal the wounded -- i.e., our brothers and sisters and ourselves -- which I think would go a long way towards healing relationships between Catholic men and women. - Pentimento
I think the lady got it right.
Image:  German Nationalist Socialist art - the ideal Aryan family.


  1. Don't we all know the type ... but like I've said in the past, this idea that purity / chastity = paranoia and fear about anything remotely sexual does have its support in the writings of numerous saints.

    I remember a guy on the CA forums whose traddy priests had taught him that the best way to overcome lust is to train himself to feel revulsion at the sight of the female body.

    He and other trads carry on about how it's de facto an occasion of sin to go swimming with women, or that women sin by wearing sports clothes, bathing suits, etc.

    Fr. Chad Ripperger of the FSSP gave a talk in which he said it was a spiritual imperfection for married men to notice beauty in women besides their wives (though not in itself sinful), and claimed that Padre Pio at the end of his life didn't even know what the women in his congregation looked like.

    In the same talk, Fr. Ripperger speaks of marital chastity and what kind of acts are and aren't acceptable between spouses as foreplay, basing it all on St. Thomas and St. Alphonsus and denouncing any other opinion as "liberal" (i.e. the consensus opinion of all scholastic moral theologians loyal to Rome in the early 20th century, including Frs. John C. Ford, George Kelly, and John Hardon) and excusing mortal sin.

    What scares me is that all these rigorists have ample quotes from the Saints, and ample tradition to back them (especially monastic).

    And in the end, I HATE all of it. I see sex and lust in places I never would have before - simple dancing, honest dating (St. Alphonsus thought couples only needed to meet once or twice before marrying - otherwise it's all just a big occasion of sin), swimming in swimsuits, pants on women, women playing sports, art depicting nudity, going to the beach / pool, anything and everything involving the opposite sex. Every time I think a woman is beautiful I am afraid of sin, and therefore automatically think explicit sexual thoughts because I am so afraid to think them. It's disgusting, and it's self-reinforcing.

    And I HATE it, and I HATE the fact that I ever read a bunch of traddy jackasses who encourage it. As someone on another blog likes to say "thanks TRADS!". [disclaimer: this does not apply to all trads, but only points out that these attitudes are found most often in that community]. But we can write off the trads as misguided prudish Puritans, but what about the Saints?

  2. Oh and it applies to the married as well as the unmarried. After all, St. Francis de Sales says that although sex is holy, it shouldn't be "immodest" (whatever that means in a context where people are - nevermind), and then goes on to praise elephants for almost never doing it.

    And the things within the marital act that were seen as sinful by St. Alphonsus and others (anything that departs from "insert tab A into slot B" - is it any wonder that there are Catholics who avoid seeing their spouses naked, and who make sure all the lights are pitch black and "get it over" as soon as possible? Oh, and they do exist, and you can find them on web forums.

    My spiritual director told me he's dealt with quite a few couples who have come through with ideas like that.

  3. I could be wrong too. :)

  4. Haha, what's that supposed to mean? That the Puritans could be right? God help us ... :)

  5. There is such a thing as common sense. Sex is fun in order to propogate the human race. We have those big brains that would figure if sex WASN'T fun, we would simply avoid it. Or, if we only had a mating season, we would avoid it at all other times.
    We enjoy it because it is enjoyable. God wanted man and wife to enjoy each other while bringing forth children. However, the other edge of the sword is that fallen humankind gets greedy for sensation and forgets that without fidelity and love, it is a futile and empty exercise in seeking the next thrill, and the next. So - we have God's command to marry and to have sexual congress within the marriage.
    Free will, enjoyment, an a guide to using them both well and healthily.
    Both the 'anything goes' crowd or the uber-Traddies have run way beyond home plate with this. Neither way leads to real satisfaction, joy, or fulfillment.
    If it were so, we wouldn't hear and read so much shrill verbiage and hysterical ranting from both camps. They spend a lot of time spinning and justifying their POV's, but in the end, that is all they have - their opinions based on what they want to do and wishing to define their own disorders as 'normal and acceptable', and maybe even 'superior'.
    As far as veiling because the Blessed Virgin did it, perhaps we can see some Traddies wear long tunic skirts and cover their heads too. After all - Jesus did.
    Again - common sense. Mary and Jesus lived in a time when that is how people dressed. Men and women can dress modestly yet still wear the fashions of the day. All they need to use is a little common sense!
    As I've said before - and it is only my own opinion so is suspect at best; we the church attend Mass and are the Bride of Christ. If we dress as though we are going to the most important wedding ever, we cannot err!
    At the same time - perhaps we should all be so focused on Jesus that what others are wearing doesn't distract us so much.
    Returning my soapbox to the main office now.

  6. There are no prohibitions on the marriage bed.

    Looking at the German picture it is quite different from the homosexual, lesbian, transgender, so on and so forth that is heralded in American Society today.

    Heroes of the American way are the two homosexuals in the 'Modern Family', the old guy married to the young girl, and the liberal couples and friends in that show.

    The bottom line for America is: don't need or use the Sacraments, salvation comes from your spiritual strength from within.

    Germany had a good focus on what family is, even in its most depraved moment.


  7. Maryjohn, common sense (and Church teaching) says that what you sag is absolutely correct. I just wish that perhaps ALL of the church fathers ha more common sense. As they saw it, it was for procreation, and any other motive was suspect and the result of original sin. That men and women who love one another tend to need each other in that way even when procreation is impossible seems to have never seemed self-evident to them. For many saints, any desire or enjoyment of it beyond what was necessary for procreation was therefore suspect.

    Perhaps the answer is just that it doesnt matter what theogoans and saints may have taught in the past - the official teaching of the church, which was never elucidated as clearly as in papal teaching of the 20th century, is simply the truth, and we can't go wrong following that, regardless of what St Augustine or St Jerome may have thought.

  8. Anonymous3:48 PM

    I really enjoyed this post... maybe its coincidence and maybe its not, but today i wrote about lust on my blog...

    God Bless

  9. Without sieg heil-ing anyone, it's easy to see how te Nazis played off if some things that were fundamentally good on order to advance their ends. Germany in those days was under serious threat of Bolshevism - the wretched little corporal played on those fears and exploited things like the traditional family. Of course, it was a sham, the true Nazi ideal was to breed supermen like horses, and they even had camps for that.

  10. Anonymous4:00 PM

    This post raises the larger issue of what it means to live as an orthodox/Traditionalist Catholic, man or woman. The concept itself is an entirely new one and so, I think most people are privately struggling to define what that means for themselves and their marriages. Other fundamentalist religious communities have answered those questions over generations and have all sorts of examples, living and dead, and institutions that will produce the next generation of men and women who will more or less embody those values, in their internal and external practice.

    For my generation, being an orthodox/Traditionalist Catholic is mostly IN REACTION TO a culture, and those parts of the Church, that in conflict with orthodox and/or Traditionalist views.

    It will be interesting to see what type of cultural norms related to masculinity, femininity and so many other things, that will rise in the coming years, from families, schools and institutions that are growing up around this new orthodoxy and Traditionalist fervor.

    When I ride the subway, I see young orthodox Jewish men in their black suits and hats and young Jewish girls in their pleated black skirts, black sweater sets, black tights and headbands, breathlessly reciting psalms from their little prayer books. They know what is expected of them as men and women in their community, there is no need to find these things out for themselves. They already have established religious and cultural norms. Currently, the orthodox and Traditionalist Catholic has no precedent, it is a do-it-yourself, trial and error, let's figure this all out type of thing and that is confusing and can lead to eccentricities.

    Will it be the case in 50 years that one will ride the subway and point and say, "Oh, that guy is definitely one of those Trad Catholics?" Time will tell, but I think ultimately that is what needs to be addressed, rather than blaming it all on sexual brokenness.

  11. Well, we already stand out in many ways, but Clark why do you think about those who rattle on about the "sinfulness" of bathing suits ( per se, not just in brazenly immodest fashions), sports for girls, dancing ( per se) etc.? I've even heard Catholic in all seriousness suggest (read: demand) that we all adopt the standards of orthodox Jews, an otters suggest that Catholic women take a cue from Muslim women (including covering of the hair in public)

  12. Anonymous4:57 PM

    See this is the type of conversation I have been longing to have on Catholic blogs. I noticed in my late teens that a new type of Catholic community was developing. This was encouraged by JPII in his request that Catholics make their homes "little churches." Traditionalists, orthodox, SSPX and several variations for each are emerging as distinct groups within the Church.

    The issues you raise are part of that ongoing discussion of what it will mean in the future to be part of these communities. How one will be modest, archetypes of fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, what religious communities one identifies with, types of schools one will send their children to, what authors one will read and so forth are all subjects that are quietly being decided amongst individuals, families, parishes, ortho/trad priests and religious, schools, periodicals and blogs. I think the open discussion of these things is healthy. I do think the time might come where one will be forced to accept community standards of correctness in dress, thought, attitudes and so forth. Some of that is already here.

    There is no secret that my generation, so called X-ers, have been spiritually and sexually broken (unless one was raised SSPX and homseschooled in the 70s, 80s and 90s). We're in a process of rediscovering our spiritual heritage and figuring out what works. I don't think the Orthodox Jewish community is a bad place to start. There is good and bad to learn from there, mostly the former.

    What the motivation is behind the ideals one hopes to impart on this new emerging community within the Church, I think, depends in large part what the motivation for their conversion was in the first place.

    For people over 30, again, unless they were raised SSPX, there must have been a decisive moment lead them on the road to orthodoxy. What prompted that journey is different for many people. It depends what answers they went looking for. THERE lies the motivating factor.

    If you haven't sat with young seminarians or young Trad Catholics and listened to them, you should. They are a different breed than my broken generation. They are focused, well read and very serious. They have a glint in their eye with the absolute assurance that the future of the Church is theirs. Cultural expectations will emerge, I can smell it in the air. To pretend it is just "traddy nonsense" is to be left out of the discussion. What will your say be?

  13. Mercury, just a couple of thoughts; the writings of the saints, however holy they may have been, don't carry the same weight as the Gospels. Saints were human beings, they got to heaven in spite of some of their little quirks and not because of them. It's a case of "take what you can use, and leave the rest." And there are the uncanonized people who were nevertheless saints. I count my parents and grandparents among those. One of their virtues was common sense, and often I think of the example and advice they gave me. I'm sure you have had people like that in your life, too. Sometimes they are better guides than someone you never met who lived hundreds of years ago in a totally different world. No disrespect intended to any of the saints, just saying.

  14. Clark, you said, speaking of the young Trads, "They have a glint in their eye with the absolute assurance that the future of the Church is theirs." I knew people like that when I was young, too; possessing that kind of absolute assurance. Only they weren't Trads. Some of them were pretty radical and pretty leftist. They had things going their way for awhile, and then the pendulum swung, as it always does. Don't sell your so-called "broken" generation short. Bad catechesis isn't a fatal flaw, that's something people have in their power to remedy, if they want to. I see a lot of people in your generation (including my own kids, and they weren't home schooled or SSPX'ers) making good choices, raising their families, living their faith. They will leave a good mark on the world.

  15. I have never had any illusion that whatever progress I have made in the chastity department came from aging, the fiery furnace reduced to a steady flame. That and getting married; chastity is a lot easier if it includes regular sex...

  16. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Thanks Melody. I share your hope that my generation will leave a legacy to the Church and society. If it is true that we are the generation who stands and proclaims, "That king has no clothes on," I am not sure what form it will take, but it should be interesting.

    Getting back to the original post...the author, based on a weird dating experience with a guy into S/M pictures, has asserted that every interest a man has in standards of modesty and searching out traditional values to help form himself as a solid Catholic husband stems solely from a place of sexual brokenness. Hogwash!

    People are broken for all sorts of reasons, people come to the faith for all sorts reasons. The desire of a man to marry a woman who will wear skirts or cover her hair at Mass could be motivated by all sorts of things, many of them positive. One's interest in or study of the Gilded Age, another thing she takes issue with, could simply be because people find the study of its decadence fascinating or have a love for the grand houses of the day. Her whole hypothesis is absurd.

    I am sorry to hear she had such a negative experience in the dating pool. I assume she hangs out with the same crowd I do, what I call the I-S-A Crowd, or Holy Innocents, Church of Our Savior (Fr Rutler), St Agnes Crowd. NYC in particular attracts a lot of neurotic narcissists and perhaps that is who she has run across, but even then, what she describes is the exception, not the norm.

  17. Anonymous9:12 PM

    I want my funeral to look like this:

    Guess that makes me a big perv...

  18. Please excuse my chuckling at Mercury's typo at 4:26: '...otters suggest that Catholic women take a cue from Muslim women'

  19. Clark, I'm confused. Do you mean we should really take people seriously when they say women son by wearing pants or a bathing suit? Should I really be deathly afraid to go to the beach? Should I worry for my sister's soul because she plays sports and wears shorts when she goes jogging? Are these really productive thongs to be worried about? What about dancing at weddings? I have read several trads bitching about the sinfulness of that. I've heard trads who had similar views as St Alphonsus on dating - just a few times before marriage.

    Cause i'm telling you - such things are total non-issues for most people. Even when I was totally unchaste, I didn't
    have lustful thoughts about women in pants or in normal bathing suits. I think the only people who worry about such things are the one's who have been taught to worry about such things. I HATE that I even worry or wonder about such things.

    Or what about the trads who say it's sinful for a wife to wear lingerie for her husband, or the one's line Fr. Ripperger who preach "rules" about foreplay while totally ignoring everything orthodox moralists of the neoscholastic period said, telling husbands and wives they are on mortal sin for things 99 percent of theologians in union with Rome would say are not even venially sinful? Or trads who insist life or death is the only excuse for NFP? (and by the way, the moralists who spoke of modesty in the pre Vatican 2 church were nowhere near as harsh on what they considered as many modern trads are, some of whom think exposing the neck or elbow is sinful)

    Lastly, several traditionalist groups are defined by their
    hatred of Pope John Paul II and others, and they live Ina fantasy land of what they imagine things were like in the past. They have also cone up with ideas of their own, an lots of them consider any orthodox moralist / theologian of the 20th century to be suspect. I've even seen some trads say that Fr. Hardon is a dangerous liberal! I think itS naive to assume that trads are any freer from neuroses and other pathologies thy plague other groups, since the very existence of trads is a reaction and a protest against the world. That has it's uses, but it can also lead to serious errors that put souls and relationships at risk, as many former SSPXers can attest.

  20. Otters are sedevacantists, didnt you know? The one's at te Audubon Zoo all belong to the SSPV.

    Seriously, Clark, another thing that bothers me is that these standards set by some people implicate my grandmothers for Pete's sake. When I see a picture of Granny at the brag and wonder if she was displeasing to the Lord because she wore a bathing suit, I think it's safe to assume I'm wandering into the twilight zone.

    And I'm sick of worrying if I'm somehow sinning by reading non-religious novels, watching movies, etc. (and of course I avoid anything abhorrent to the faith of likely to lead me into sin). Yes, there are ultra-orthodox Jews who read NO secular literature, and who won't even have their picture taken. They also have rigid rules about when they can touch their wives ( Haredim are the most rigid of them all - they almost never touch so as to be on the safe side) because they may be ritually unclean. Maybe that's not where we need to look - we're not Jews.

  21. "Granny at the beach." Stupid auto-correct. And apparently Apple doesn't believe in sin because it always changes it to "son".

  22. Melody - excellent comments - thanks.

  23. Yes, Melody, I didn't skip you. And for most of us, our grandparents grew up in an authentic Catholic culture and lived authentic Catholic lives without a lot of the crap that plagues us from either end.

  24. Anonymous12:02 AM

    Mercury, It isn't that those things in themselves are sins, though I think in some cases they can be, it is about fostering a community where modesty and holiness can flourish and be set apart from the paganism of the age. And this, I'm afraid, is where neo-con orthodox and Traditionalists part ways. I won't even go into my arguments on the matter because I don't want to be the hated prudish loon on this blog, with the new addition that my love of modesty (for women AND men) stems from a secret sexual perverseness, oh, I mean, brokenness.

    Sigh...I have SO much to say on this issue, but I'd rather do it over coffee. Let me know if you'll be in NYC.

    PS If you really want the run down on how I feel about these issues, I'll email you privately. Also-i enjoy your blog on Topography.

  25. Thanks. I need to start working on my blog more.

    I'm going to have to decline the offer to talk about those issues. it's not because you have nothing worthwhile to say, but because that is an area of tremendous scrupulosity, despair, and fear for me.

    I truly understand the need for modesty in this world. But if you think that means women should never play sports, should go jogging in long skirts ( or not at all), or that no one should wear swimsuits at the beach, you are entering territory that goes back to well before the Vatican council 2. You are also seeing sin and shamelessness in places where most people wouldn't. Case in point - I would have never seen such things as sexually tempting I has never heard that trads really really really really really care about
    such things.

    But I usually don't see modesty or holiness in such communities ... Those who write about it often come of as reeking with saccharine self-righteousness. And does it really make sense to attack cultural norms that are in themselves nothing sexual ( such as swimsuits, etc)

  26. An as far a love of modesty stemming from brokenness, thy may not be true of you, but there are lots of men online who want to just accuse women of son because they are wearing things thy strike no one as untoward. It's one thing to say you shouldn't have your cleavage hanging out all over the place, but it's another to accuse women if sin for wearing jeans, or for wearing jogging shorts to go jogging.

  27. Anonymous1:18 AM

    Thanks. I need to start working on my blog more.

    (I hope you do it's a cool concept.)

    I'm going to have to decline the offer to talk about those issues.

    (I try to remember when reading posts online that I have no idea what voice the person is speaking in. When I reread some of my posts, I think, "Woah...psycho!" Tone doesn't translate well on this blog. Despite some of my more passionate statements here, I am actually very laid back and open minded. I have friends who went to Barnard and we hit it off. ;) )

    it's not because you have nothing worthwhile to say, but because that is an area of tremendous scrupulosity, despair, and fear for me.

    (It shouldn't. These things are a side show right now. The most important thing is getting the basics down and to go where God is leading you. I have felt for years God tugging at me to give up secular music, but I just haven't done that yet, but eventually as I continue to grow in my spiritual life, perhaps I will want to, but I don't torture myself about it. I see where God is leading me and I walk toward that perfection and then tumble back down to the bottom of the hill or take a side road and wander down that for a while and then ask God to help me find my way back to that place we were walking together again. I'm turning into a deep thoughts poster so I'll stop. But, on those side issues, like shorts in church and veils and so forth, if it is disturbing you than just stop.)

    I truly understand the need for modesty in this world. But if you think that means women should never play sports, should go jogging

    (I don't)

    in long skirts
    (well, at least covering the knee while sitting :) )

    ( or not at all), or that no one should wear swimsuits at the beach,
    (you forgot mixed swimming, but you were saying...)

    you are entering territory that goes back to well before the Vatican council 2. You are also seeing sin and shamelessness in places where most people wouldn't.

    (As I stated, it isn't, for me, about sin, it is about fostering a community where modesty and holiness can flourish and being set apart as people of God from the surrounding pagan culture. That said, we are nowhere near ready as a Church for these things, basics first.> <Sounds like you have been given a lot to think about. There is nothing wrong with these discussions, as long as they are charitable and as another poster pointed out, done with a lot of common sense.)

  28. Anonymous1:19 AM

    But I usually don't see modesty or holiness in such communities ... Those who write about it often come of as reeking with saccharine self-righteousness.

    (Yeah, it can come from a sick place and I avoid those people. They cluck their tongues at me too.)

    And does it really make sense to attack cultural norms that are in themselves nothing sexual ( such as swimsuits, etc)

    (What I was trying to convey in my earlier posts is that these things are happening. I see it here, there, popping up like crazy over the last 10 years. I think these conversations are something to be taken seriously, but they are the core of what should be important to one's spiritual journey right now.)

    (As for your last statement, I reiterate, we are not there yet as a Church. I am visiting family right now and watched EWTN last night. There was a woman on who was talking about spiritual issues related to women, but was wearing a low cut blouse. Do I think she was sinning? No, that is obviously not where she is in her level of modesty. Do I think it was appropriate? No. Does it matter? Not much.)

  29. Anonymous1:23 AM

    Correction. Meant to say:

    "but they are NOT the core of what should be important to one's spiritual journey right now."

  30. Maybe they should be taken seriously. But I think for a lot of people it's prudery and paranoia and wanting to call foul and feel good about themselves. I would have never ever thought "mixed swimming" was even something quesionable till I learned trads think it's sinful. And really, we've grown up on a culture where men and woman have been swimming together in bathing suits for three or four years. We swim at family gatherings and neighborhood get-togethers. And at church fairs and youth group gatherings. And few people see it as sexual and sinful (in itself - certain clothing items can indeed be). So if most people don't struggle with it, if most people don't think o it as sexual, why should I? Why find sex in places it's not meant to be? When you sexualize things like water parks, sexualize things like athletics, I'm sorry, I think that indicates a preoccupation with finding sex on places where it isn't meant to be.

  31. Anonymous1:46 AM

    I keep repeating--it isn't about sin. The Church doesn't speak about these things, so do what works for you in these matters.

    "So if most people don't struggle with it, if most people don't think o it as sexual, why should I?"

    Well, you should take all matters concerning the faith seriously, but if these side issues disturb you this much than it is time to discuss it with your confessor and do whatever he tells you.

    Ok, we are wayyyy off track from where this post started. Peace to you though, Mercury.

  32. Thanks Clark. And by the way, you're wearing shorts :)

  33. +JMJ+

    Not having had first hand experience of any prospective mate's sexual woundedness (or overt sexual anything), I still found something to relate to in Pentimento's post. I know many Catholic men--all orthodox and highly Traditionalist--who do "take affect for essence." It has reached the point where the following have become huge red flags for me:

    a) attendance at Latin Mass
    b) membership in Opus Dei
    c) quoting of G.K. Chesterton
    d) preference for pipes over cigarettes
    e) only positive things to say about NFP (which is weird when they've never been married)

    Again, I have no basis for saying they are all sexually wounded (although they are definitely culturally clumsy)--and I certainly can't see into their hearts. But they're very much like Catholic cosplayers whose costumes never come off . . . because they believe the costumes are real.

    Of course, believing one's costume is real isn't a sin.

  34. " Even when I was totally unchaste, I didn't
    have lustful thoughts about women in pants or in normal bathing suits."
    If you did not have lustful thoughts about women in bathing suits you are made of different stuff than I. Me, I have lustful thoughts about cute Amish girls, clad from head to toe (I live in Ohio).

  35. Daniel, what I meant was that an average bathing suit in the context of a pool or beach didn't set me off any more than anything else did. Seeing a woman in a bathing suit in the right context was not the same as seeing a woman wearing an outfit designed to "make men think".

    Of course, like you, I was capable of unchaste thoughts no matter WHAT women were wearing, which is another reason why the "pants make me hot and bothered" line is silly. I really do thick some men will not be happy till women dress like orthodox Jews or Muslims, and even they find excuses ( her hijab let some of her hair show - it's get fault, the shameless harlot! )

  36. "was capable" should be "still am capable, especially if I'm not careful". But this whole trad obsession with modesty has made me hypersensitive to what women are wearing, with stupid, obnoxious thoughts about if what a woman is wearing is modest enough or not. I remember thr there was a pretty girl on EWTN whose knees were showing and i kept thinking "well, COULD this lead to unchaste thoughts?" which is such a load of bullcrap because like i said, i was only thinking it cause I was "taught" to do so by certain online subcultures and their paranoias. When I was unchaste, it wasn't the knees or the shins that made me ogle like a pig, I can tell you that.

    And when it comes down to it, unless women were expected to wear formless sacks, men would still find SOMETHING to lust about, which is why men have the responsibility to control their thoughs and to ignore or repress the dirty ones.

  37. Enbrethiliel - your list is great! I know those guys! And the pipe - the pipe! LOL! You forgot lineage - some trace their ancestry to European nobility.

    Nothing wrong with that of course.

  38. All I can say is, I just got back from the Tridentine Latin Mass, and never, I and I mean never, EVER, have I seen so many selfish, self-absorbed parents in "veils" and creepy "modest",ugly clothing, completely oblivious to any one else at Mass. Their children climbed over pews, up and down aisles, screamed, cried, threw things, they got up, they got down; however, never once, did it seem to occur to these creeps that they should remove their children, or that they should not bring these children to Mass. Worse than ANYTHING I have EVER seen at a NO Mass. That is it. I am now convinced that we live in a world of barbarians. These "traddies", or whatever you call them, are no different than the same parents who bring their mibehaved children to the NO Mass: they are all self-indulgent narcissists who are so wrapped up in themselves that they don't even have enough awareness of other people to be ashamed of them selves. And, what none of them understand is that they create a near occasion of sin via their rude and thoughtless behavior. I was so angry that I said something to a woman and asked her if she would be kind enough to remove her child as I was unable to concentrate or pray. I haven't the fortitude to even go into how rude she was in reply. Suffice it to say that I did not go to Holy Communion. NO Mass? TLM?Please, as an article I recently read said, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT UP.

  39. Maria: I'm sorry you had that experience at the TLM. Here in STL, at St. Francis de Sales parish which is run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the traddy parents in attendance with their youngsters are very attentive to their children's behavior. Most kids, even as young as 3 or 5, are very well behaved. Those that pull on mommy's skirt or tug on dad's shirt and are waving around in the pew are quickly and gently whispered to, pulled around, etc., and told to pay attention. For the most part, they do! It's amazing to see parents actually care about forming their kids in reverent behavior without being so involved in what they themselves are subjectively experiencing at the TLM. And I'm not even a regular TLM attender; I go maybe half a dozen times a year. The rest of the time I'm at my local Regular Form parish.

    Mercury, I don't have a horse in the race above, but can appreciate your scrupulosity. I do the same thing, albeit my issue is SSA. "Is he wearing proper attire? Is this an occasion of sin? Can I just appreciate the human form and praise God for the beauty of His children & let it go?" Bottom line is it's none of my business what others wear, they have to answer for themselves and I just try to give them to God. For me, and I share this because maybe it might help you too, I pray for fidelity to my baptismal vows and ask God to be chaste in thought, word, and deed without scrupulosity, and to see myself and others as God sees us. And for the record, I've been known to wear cargo shorts to Saturday liturgy and jeans on Sunday, and I don't recall the holy water boiling when I went in. :)

  40. Anonymous11:54 AM

    Enbrethiliel- Only B and E raise red flags for me.

    Maria- I have no idea where you attended Mass, but I have attended the EF Mass since I was 16 in many states and in other countries and have never witnessed anything like you describe. I recently visited St Louis where some families have enough kids to fill 2 pews and the children, even very young children, knelt and followed along with the Mass very reverently.

    You'll always hear a few babies shout for glory at any Mass, but that is the way God made babies. If it is as bad as you describe, I think a charitable letter to the pastor is in order.

  41. Anonymous2:10 PM

    They Pastor, quite obviously, has assumed no leadership. Otherwise parents would know better than to show up at Mass w/ infants. It is preposterous to think than infant is going to be silenet. They were made to shout for glory, yes, just not at Church. It is a reflection of the degradation and coarsening of our culture that these young people do not even understand that one should not bring a small child to Mass unless and until they can behave. They simply don't get it. It is, as w/ every other problem in our culture, "all about them" and what "they want".

  42. doughboy, thanks. And that's another good point - men are often rattling on and on about women's modesty, but pay no attention to the fact that women (or men with SSA) may also struggle.

    Trash bags for everyone!

  43. Enbrethiliel, I lol'd at your comment. Like Clark, only B and E raise flags for me, unless a man is exhibiting all of the traits in question. On their own, Latin Mass attendance and quoting Chesterton aren't necessarily problematic. Pipe-smoking is common among a certain group of my male friends, but they're young philosophy professors. For them it's a professional affectation rather than an attempt at being manly in some hipster, retro way.

    For me, the flags go up when I see men who are trying to dress like dandies, and end up looking like they're wearing a costume all the time. For instance, a young man I saw recently wearing a tie and a tweed hat and carrying the matching tweed a folk music festival in mid-July. Tweed is out of season, and a tie? Really? Maybe if we were actually in Ireland where it was cool, but not in upstate New York where it was 95 and humid. A man who dresses like that under those circumstances seems unlikely to be husband material. (Note: I did marry a man who wears bow ties, but only when he's at work).

  44. The Last Anonymous Poster must be a convert; saying that young children do not belong at Mass is foreign to Catholic sensibilities. Of course if the child is crying or otherwise creating a disturbance the parent should run, not walk to the back of the church, or to the cry room. Stern glances from fellow parishoners usually does the trick.

  45. Stern glances from fellow parishoners usually does the trick.

    Stern looks? Forget about it. That would assume that these people understood what constitutes civil behavior in a public forum, much less Mass. My stern looks don't even register w/ these people. Sometimes I think, surely, they were raised by wolves, in a cave. Apparently you do not attend Mass in the DC area. I have had to ask people to remove them. They don't. They could care less 'cause, see, it is about THEM, not God. It is abou THEIR convenience. Too much trouble to remove the child and place the needs of someone else above their own. Not happening.

  46. +JMJ+

    Clark and Jane: I'm sorry for the late reply. I haven't been checking this thread.

    Anyway, I've given it some thought and I think I'd change A to read:

    Convert who attends only the Latin Mass


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