I have seen too much to ever leave the Catholic Church

This morning I was reading over at the other place, as I do from time to time. I read Brian Watt’s post, The Church’s Ongoing Gay Orgy, and the first page of the comments. The first comment was Bryan’s, and he proposed a solution to the gay-clergy crisis:

The laity should abandon the church. Stop giving money. Leave it. Only that will force it to change. It was so 500 years ago.

There are a few ways I can argue why this isn’t a good idea, and they involve using arguments that have already been used over and over, none of which are really my own. And I see that others have attempted this strategy over there.

Rather than rehashing old arguments, I’d like to share something dramatically more personal. I don’t think people here have read my book (and for a couple of you, that’s my fault since I still haven’t sent the copies I promised to send!). I mention the book because it outlines some of my experiences that led me to become Catholic.

The bottom line is that I couldn’t have seen what I saw about God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality had I recommitted myself to any sort of Protestantism after leaving the Gnostic cult. This is because what I saw about the distortion of those things has its roots and foundation in contraception. Everything that I saw about God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality, much of which Protestants can and do affirm, is grounded in the notion that contraception is contrary to God’s plan.

Pope St. John Paul II coined the phrase, “contraceptive mentality” in 1981 with his encyclical Familiaris consortio (The fellowship of the family)

You’ve probably all heard of the Catholic phrase, “the contraceptive mentality.” Pope St. John Paul II coined the phrase in 1981. I have noticed that the phrase doesn’t seem to make sense to non-Catholics, so I prayed hard for a long time about how to convey the idea in a different way. I finally settled on the following that I believe says essentially the same thing: that fertile opposite sex couples have a right for pregnancy-free coitus. I have used this phrase online many times, and it resonates with people. They believe that they do have such a right. I like this phrase because it captures something dear to people. We all do have rights, and rights are important. The State is obliged to recognize our rights.

Here is how the phrase applies to abortion: if fertile opposite-sex couples have a right for pregnancy-free coitus, then abortion must be legal, because it upholds that right. A right for pregnancy-free coitus positions the unborn as unwelcome invaders. Their humanity is irrelevant because they have violated the right. This is why they can be terminated.

Here is how it applies to same-sex marriage: I’m sure you recall the marriage wars at the other place. Those on offense argued repeatedly that marriage, sex, and children were not linked in a principled way. And in one sense they were correct. What I mean is that contraception is what unlinked sex and children in a apparently-principled fashion. The right to pregnancy-free coitus is so appealing that people don’t realize that it is a new right. It did not always exist.

Because of the new-found right for pregnancy-free coitus given by

Pope St. Paul VI reaffirmed the ancient Christian teaching on contraception in his 1968 encyclical Humanae vitae (Of human life)

contraception, children are added-back to marriage in an ad hoc, couple-by-couple manner. If sex is a presumptively sterile act, making the ad hoc approach to children the correct approach, then same-sex marriage is logically justified since same-sex couples cannot conceive their own children.

Let me make it clear that when I use the word “right” in this sense, I am not referring to a clearly articulated legal right. I am using the word in a colloquial sense, although certain significant SCOTUS decisions allude to it. For example, see Planned Parenthood v Casey and Obergefell v Hodges.

I know, beyond any doubt whatsoever, what God’s full plan is for marriage and human sexuality. I would never have understood this plan so thoroughly had I reaffirmed any sort of Protestantism after leaving the Gnostic cult. This is because the Catholic Church is the very last Christian body that understands the problem of contraception.

The gay-clergy and those who affirm them are wrong. They may do tremendous damage to the Church, along with the entire sexual revolution. Much damage has already been done. But for me, leaving the Church is not the answer to the destruction. The question is: who is right about the entirety of the sexual revolution, including contraception? We all think we’re on the “correct” side, but how we got there matters. I know where I stand, where I have driven my stake into the ground, and most importantly, how I got there. I can’t predict the future, but if I ever wanted to leave I don’t know where I’d go. By God’s grace I have seen so much of which I have shared a little here.


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Plug for my book

I read Scott Wilmot’s essay today over at R. He wrote about an incident at a Catholic college, where one of the students was harassed and intimidated “‘for affirming on a bulletin board the truth and beauty of marriage according to nature, the Church, and Jesus Christ.'” It is outrageous and deeply troubling that such a thing would happen at a Catholic school. It is not the first time this sort of thing has happened at a Catholic school, I fully realize. But I am always shocked when it does.

During the marriage wars that raged online before Obergefell, the most popular argument my side put forward is known as the complementarity argument. I won’t go into its details since readers here probably already know what it is. I think it is a fine argument, but it has a weakness. It requires those on the opposing side to accept a presupposition that they have already rejected. They have already rejected the idea that sex differences matter (of course, they are not consistent in that rejection, but that is basically what they say they believe). So to rely on an argument that requires them to accept sex differences as a legitimate phenomenon may have been asking too much.

I don’t know how many of you know that I wrote a book that is part memoir, part argument, about my life as a child of divorce, and some of the things I came to see about marriage as a result of that experience. The argument that I put forth there was something that I mentioned on R a few times, more towards the end of my tenure there. I took the concept of equality and built an argument for natural marriage on it.

I’m not on Facebook or Twitter any longer, but when I was, I would present this argument from time to time to social liberals and Democrats. I have not yet received a rebuttal to the argument. This doesn’t mean I’ve changed anybody’s mind. But I believe it means that I have given them something they actually have to wrestle with. They can’t simply disregard it like they did the complementarity argument, since I don’t require them to accept the complementarity of the sexes as a starting point. Instead, I show how natural marriage creates equality among children (and between the generations). When natural marriage is disregarded, I show how the inequalities among children multiply. And I literally show it, with diagrams. The argument is very clear.

The reason I bring this up now is that I often wonder what would happen if the argument were widely known among liberals. What would they do if they really had to take a concept they highly valued—equality—and reconcile it with natural marriage in a way that might change their minds? Or at least, it might give them pause to think that maybe they don’t have all the answers, or that perhaps those dinosaur social-conservatives might have been onto something all along. Might incidents such as what happened at Providence College continue, or at least might they tone down and become less harsh and more open to actual dialog? I don’t know. And I won’t know unless I tell people about my book and get it more widely distributed.

The complementarity argument had a drawback: it didn’t resonate with liberals. My book has a drawback as well: it doesn’t resonate with conservatives. This is because they don’t value equality very much. They realize that life is unfair, and so are reluctant to get behind an argument that encourages fairness. It is true that life is unfair, but conservatives will agree that:

  • we have a duty to think carefully about our choices.
  • we must consider how our choices affect those around us.
  • we must avoid willful ignorance of what our choices do.

I think my book fulfills all three of those points. It helps people understand, in a new way, how the sexual and marital choices that adults make today impact subsequent generations. For example, those choices often impose burdens on subsequent generations that the adults themselves would never choose to bear.

I don’t like promoting myself and this is why you won’t see me writing about my book very often. After reading Scott’s post, I felt strongly that I had to step out of my comfort zone and say something that I believe will be helpful. If you are in a position to recommend my book to liberals, would you please consider doing so? If you would like to read it first, here are a few suggestions:

  • I am happy to loan you my Kindle copy.
  • You can read it for free on Kindle Unlimited.
  • I can send you a hard copy for $10.
  • You can buy the Kindle version or the hard copy version through Amazon. I have it setup so that if you buy the hard copy for regular price, as an optional upgrade you can also purchase the Kindle version for $1.99 more.

Link to my book:

Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds Equality for Children


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Today’s Kipling – The Mare’s Nest

(Sometimes the course of true love fails to run smoothly. . .)

The Mare’s Nest

Rudyard Kipling

Jane Austen Beecher Stowe de Rouse
Was good beyond all earthly need;
But, on the other hand, her spouse
Was very, very bad indeed.
He smoked cigars, called churches slow,
And raced — but this she did not know.

For Belial Machiavelli kept
The little fact a secret, and,
Though o’er his minor sins she wept,
Jane Austen did not understand
That Lilly — thirteen-two and bay
Absorbed one-half her husband’s pay.

She was so good, she made hime worse;
(Some women are like this, I think;)
He taught her parrot how to curse,
Her Assam monkey how to drink.
He vexed her righteous soul until
She went up, and he went down hill.

Then came the crisis, strange to say,
Which turned a good wife to a better.
A telegraphic peon, one day,
Brought her — now, had it been a letter
For Belial Machiavelli, I
Know Jane would just have let it lie.

But ’twas a telegram instead,
Marked “urgent,” and her duty plain
To open it. Jane Austen read:
“Your Lilly’s got a cough again.
Can’t understand why she is kept
At your expense.” Jane Austen wept.

It was a misdirected wire.
Her husband was at Shaitanpore.
She spread her anger, hot as fire,
Through six thin foreign sheets or more.
Sent off that letter, wrote another
To her solicitor — and mother.

Then Belial Machiavelli saw
Her error and, I trust, his own,
Wired to the minion of the Law,
And traveled wifeward — not alone.
For Lilly — thirteen-two and bay —
Came in a horse-box all the way.

There was a scene — a weep or two —
With many kisses. Austen Jane
Rode Lilly all the season through,
And never opened wires again.
She races now with Belial. This
Is very sad, but so it is.


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