Living Tradition
Editor: Msgr. John F. McCarthy, J.C.D., S.T.D.Distributed several times a year to interested members.
Associate Editor: Rev. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., M.A., S.T.D.  Not to be republished without permission.
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No. 15 Roman Theological Forum | Article Index | Study Program January 1988

Co-operating with Homosexuality - Brian W. Harrison
The New Morality - A Problem for Doctors - John F. McCarthy

        In the January 1988 issue of LIVING TRADITION two aspects of the ongoing 'sexual revolution' are examined from the viewpoint of traditional Christian morality.

        Father Brian Harrison points out the immorality of co-operating with homosexual activity and, in general, of subscribing to the false ideas of homosexual activism and of unchaste methods of sex education.

        Msgr. John McCarthy analyzes the so-called new morality from statements of some of its leading proponents. He attempts to show that in some respects it has become a problem for medical doctors. To recognize the advanced 'new theologian' and 'sex counselor' as a potential clinical patient is a sobering thought to say the least.

        Are we at the beginning of a sexual counter-revolution within Christianity? We very much hope so. The two articles presented here are intended in this direction as a small contribution towards a big new theological effort, based on the appreciation of Christian living as a chaste response to the invitation of God to love Him "with our whole heart, and with our whole soul, and with our whole mind, and with our whole strength," so that, within the context of divine love, we may truly "love our neighbor as we love ourselves" (Mk 12:30-31 par.).


by Brian W. Harrison

        In the last few months we have seen many headlines regarding measures proposed for controlling the spread of AIDS, which may well prove to be the most devastating epidemic to strike mankind this century. But unfortunately the emphasis all too often has been on an almost feverish campaign to promote 'safe sex' by means of prophylactics (condoms). Not only has there been insufficient publicity about the unreliability of this supposedly 'safe' method (which in fact will probably only tend to delay, rather than prevent, the contraction of AIDS amongst consistently active homosexuals), but we are losing sight of the grave moral issues at stake. The kind of 'education' most commonly advocated is likely to come across in practice as co-operation with a gravely sinful activity, or at least as condoning it. And that of course is precisely what the militant homosexual movement wants. We will be very naive if we fail to realize that this movement is attempting to gain the maximum mileage out of the AIDS crisis in an effort to bring about still greater social acceptance of the practice of sodomy.

        As I reflect on the present situation, an interesting parallel springs to mind. When I went to teach in the Papua New Guinea highlands over twenty years ago with Australian Volunteers Abroad (our equivalent of the U.S. Peace Corps), a rare and dreaded disease called kuru was finally being eradicated. As far as I remember, no cure was ever found for kuru: it was 100% fatal, and as in the case of AIDS, its victims took a year or so to die. How then was it conquered? Well, scientists finally tracked down its cause: it came from a germ transmitted by cannibalism. This tribe in the Eastern Highlands had the custom of eating dead relatives' flesh as a sign of spiritual union with them.

        When this discovery was made, do you suppose that the Papua New Guinea public authorities and Churches embarked on a great drive to promote 'safe cannibalism'? Were efforts redoubled and vast sums of money raised to come up with an anti-kuru serum which would allow the cannibals to enjoy their traditional life-style in safety? Were those who urged the eradication of cannibalism condemned on all sides as 'fascists,' enemies of religious liberty, bent on "imposing their moral code" on others? Were those dying in mission hospitals as a result of their cannibalistic meals treated as heroic martyrs, with parades and Masses celebrated to honour them?

        No, there were no such antics in New Guinea. The obvious, sensible course was followed: government and missions combined to denounce cannibalism with renewed vigour as an immoral activity and a grave threat to public health. In short, it was branded as anti-social behaviour. Today cannibalism - and with it, kuru - have vanished from the Eastern Highlands because one single message, loud and clear, was given to those tribesmen: eating people is wrong - and deadly dangerous!

        If today's secularized societies were morally sane, instead of debilitated by the ceaseless propaganda of the immensely powerful and well-funded homosexual network, an equally loud and clear message would be coming through from all those responsible for educating the public on this matter: anal intercourse (whether with a man or a woman) is wrong and deadly dangerous! (This practice is responsible for over 90% of all AIDS cases).

        Thanks be to God there are some voices of sanity. A number of bishops and other leaders have spoken out as they should. At the international conference on AIDS prevention in London in January, thanks to the forthright intervention of the Holy See's representative, Bishop Fiorenzo Angelini, the final joint declaration of delegates from 148 countries refrained from explicitly mentioning the use of prophylactics as an anti-AIDS measure, even though this seemed to be the principal 'remedy' recommended by nearly all the other delegates. Indeed, this final declaration - thanks once again to the voice of Peter crying in the secularized and amoral wilderness of the modern community of nations - even managed to mention the need to take into account "spiritual values" (as well as "human values") when planning campaigns to combat the disease.

        Also, it seems appropriate to mention here another firm statement from one of today's outstanding shepherds of the Catholic flock who refuses to co-operate in any way with the evil of homosexual activity. News has just reached us that after repeated complaints from the Pro Fide group, pro-life activists, and other scandalized faithful in Britain, the President of the Vatican's Council for the Family, Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, has thoroughly investigated and declared unacceptable the radio counselling activity of Fr. Andrew Monaghan. This Scottish priest has for some years hosted a late-night talk show in which, presenting himself as just plain "Andy," he and a woman assistant give advice to callers who phone in to discuss their personal problems. The advice given on ethical matters, it appears, has often been permissive in the extreme: distraught pregnant girls, for instance, are sometimes referred to the notorious Brook Advisory Centres, a series of British agencies implementing the secular humanist "Planned Parenthood" ideology. They are pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-teenage sex, pro-homosexual and so on. Fr. Monaghan has not even refrained from referring 'lonely' homosexual men-callers to the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group, publicly announcing over the air the telephone number of this organization, which campaigns militantly against Christian morality.

        We pray that a positive side-effect of these current disputes will be that the whole question of sex education in schools - especially in Catholic schools - is brought once again to the forefront. After all, condom instruction is only the tip of the iceberg. It would have been unthinkable had not the ground been prepared by widespread classroom sexual instruction which falls far short of the Church's norms of modesty, prudence, discretion and orthodoxy.

        This has been the case throughout most Western countries in recent years. Orthodox parents have complained long and loudly to Church authorities about these corrupting influences on their children, but with such meagre results that lately many seem to have given up in frustration, feeling that they have just been beating their heads against a brick wall.

        The truth is, classroom sex education is rather like marriage annulments on 'psychological' grounds: in both cases it is hard to deny the need for some such measures in principle, and documents from the Holy See have recognized this; but they are the kind of measures which are very difficult to control in practice, and by their very nature tend to invite abuses. If the present controversy over AIDS education gives a renewed impetus for re-examining this wider question of sex education in an honest and thoroughgoing way, that will be a beneficial side-effect of a tragic state of affairs.


by John F. McCarthy

An address delivered by Msgr. John F. McCarthy, J.C.D., S.T.D., President of the Roman Theological Forum, Rome, Italy, at the 1978 Annual Meeting of the National Federation of Catholic Physicians' Guilds in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 5, 1978

        A. The Earlier Phase of the New Morality

        The 'new morality' was already in the 1940s being widely propagandized within Catholic academic circles by writers and teachers such as Bernard Häring, the German Redemptorist, whose Law of Christ (first German edition, 1954) accelerated the movement and whose Medical Ethics (St. Paul Publications: Slough, England, 1972; revised edition, 1974) may be regarded as a typical example of its contemporary form and method.

        Father Häring advocates the desacralizing of Sacred Scripture and of Catholic moral tradition in favor of "a dawning awareness of man as responsible for himself over and beyond his physical trends" to be followed by a "new re-sacralization" in which "the sanctity of the human person is the essential value to be served by medicine" (Medical Ethics, p. xii).

        This new morality presents a concept of man that is "less individualistic, less conditioned by a fixed notion of man's intrinsic nature," preferring a "historical orientation" which is "more open to a dynamic view of man's development and his call to maturity and is more aware of the great virtues of risk and courage" (M.E., p. 7). "We can no longer ignore," observes Father Häring, "the substantial difference in theological outlook between an ethicist subscribing to man's original nature as static and fully realized and one subscribing to a dynamic design.... Today's philosophy, from Martin Heidegger to Marcuse, centres the whole system on becoming.... At the heart of this philosophy lies the creative tension between essence and existence, but existence is often given greater value than essence" (M.E., pp. 45, 48).

        Father Häring considers it inaccurate to say that man has a body, because "man is an embodied spirit; he is a living body." This is the emphasis which for the new morality identifies the nature of man: "The specific nature of man lies in his being in the body and in being through his bodily existence open to the Other, to the 'we' of community and to the world around him. It is an openness of the whole person in and through the body" (M.E., pp. 50-51).

        The new morality develops around what its proponents call "modern historical man." To quote Bernard Häring again: "Historicity, that is, being by becoming and becoming by being in the great stream of human history, does indicate a direction of meaning and values.... The man of today realizes how evolution and the whole of contemporary society are moulding him in his biological structures and processes, and even more in his cultural capacities" (M.E., p. 57). It is Häring's thesis that we should prefer "a conscious and responsible moulding of the physis" to all those changes that happen through lack of planned human intervention, although he does not favor "unlimited eugenic engineering" in the presence of limited scientific knowledge and techniques and in view also of man's dignity (M.E., p. 61).

        In the purview of the new morality medical progress and responsibility oblige all physicians "continuously to rethink medicine's purpose and to clarify its goal through sincere dialogue with the behavioral sciences, philosophy and theology" (M.E., p. 2). The new morality changes the focus of attention "from an individualistic personalism of the patient-doctor relationship to a social-collective accountability of the medical community to the whole of human society" (M.E., p. 3). The evolution of this change is recapitulated by Father Häring as follows: "The doctor is now only one of many and various social workers serving in dependence on and in collaboration with insurance groups and social agencies. This is particularly true in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and to a lesser degree in the Scandinavian countries, in England, and in practically the whole European continent. It will probably be so also for the rest of the world in the near future" (M.E., p. 4).

        Father Häring, in terms of this viewpoint, could just as well have said: "The 'moral theologian' is now only one of the many and various social workers serving in dependence on and in collaboration with Marxist groups and agencies." The first and most insidious error of the 'new morality' is its naive acceptance of Marxism as the paradigm of the present and the wave of the future. The proclaimers of the 'new morality' are prophets of 'Christian Socialism,' a fantasy identified as mythological by Marx and Engles in the Communist Manifesto, who, however, in the same document advise Communists to use these dreamers as fellow-travelers until the moment arrives for their rude awakening.

        It is not a pure coincidence that the spread of the 'new morality' has a history and development parallel to the spread of Communist propaganda. The "historical orientation" of the new morality fits at its roots into the historical theory of dialectical materialism, as does its "dynamic view of man's development." It is in the ultimate analysis the dialectical materialist who can affirm with consistency that man is his body, having denied the existence of any spiritual component, and it is the Communist who can say with confidence that the specific nature of man is to exist for the collectivity, for the 'we' of community. Man to the Marxist is not something stable and permanent in himself: his being is becoming and becoming is his being. Who more than the power-holders in the Communist State plan the future of man by moulding him in his biological structures and processes, and even more in his cultural capacities?

        It is characteristic of the proponents of the new morality never to draw these lines together. Häring tells us that the ethicist (and he claims to be an ethicist) "should have learned from leading political scientists what it means to develop from within the best possible political ethos" (M.E., p. 17), but he carefully refrains from telling us who these "political scientists" are and towards what condition of slavery they are leading us. Häring instructs physicians to work out an ethical code "by themselves," that is, without following the teaching of the Church, because "the ethos of the physician differs from the moral principles imposed upon him by philosophy, theology, and his own Church" (M.E., pp. 16-17). He tells physicians that they shouted integrate into their ethos "the positive elements of the present historical situation while withstanding its dangers and threats" (M.E., p. 33). Häring does not identify these dangers and threats. He does not warn physicians that they cannot aim at becoming worker-doc-tors like those produced by the political ethos of the Socialist countries of Eastern Europe, they cannot travel into the future in communion with revolutionary Marxists, and afterwards escape the terrible consequences.

        Häring advises physicians that "the moral theologian acts as a mediator between the mag-isterium and medical field-workers." The magisterium, he says, "normally speaks only on urgent and distressing problems," while the moral theologian speaks constantly on all problems. The moral theologian, he says, and the physician are bound to follow the moral teachings of the mag-isterium only to the extent that these teachings fit in with their own insight into the matter. "If an utterance of the magisterium is no longer in tune with new insights and the modern context, physicians and theologians have a joint obligation to look for better solutions and, if need be, to inform the magisterium of this" (M.E., pp. 35-37).

        The "modern context" is ultimately the Marxist State, but the "new insights" stern also from the existentialist meditation of the utopian materialist. "Revelation teaches man," Häring says, "to consider his body in the totality of his personal and communal existence. It disallows any separation of the material aspect from the spiritual, referring as it does to the human person subsisting in a body, living in the physical world in communion with his fellowmen and in mysterious solidarity with the cosmos" (M.E., p. l2).

        There is in this materialization of the nature of man a mysterious solidarity with the Marxist "analysis of reality" and with its aims and outlook. Revelation teaches us the importance of the spiritual aspect of man in his substance and in his destiny; it teaches us that God is a spirit, that man is destined for eternal union with Him in the solidarity of intellectual knowledge and love, that man must dominate the rebellious drives of his body because of his dignity as a rational being. It is not Revelation but dialectical materialism that teaches us to disallow any separation of the soul of man from his body, or of the mind of man from the matter with which it is surrounded.

        The "insights" of the new morality are based on a false theory of knowledge. Häring is misrepresenting the facts when he says: "Phenomenology tells us that all thought processes, particularly the formation of scientific concepts and systems, are characterized by typical reduction: the concepts are not the same as the total reality" (M.E., p. 7). Moral theologians have never said that concepts are the same as the total reality. What traditional moral theology does say is that to abandon concepts is to abandon reality and that to build a field without concepts is to build unscientifically. It is the new morality that is being pseudo-scientific when it methodically throws out rational concepts and then says to the Catholic moralist that, if he "clings to the old schemes of his discipline, to pre-scientific formulations and ancient philosophies (wrongly understood philosophia perennis) and if, in this attitude, he offers solutions to modern medical problems in the old idiom, he certainly does nothing to rid himself of schizoid tendencies" (M.E., p. 10). The "old schemes" of moral theology are conceptual schemes, the "old idiom" is a conceptual one. To call conceptual formulations "pre-scientific," as Häring does, on the sheer ground that they are conceptual is as confused as a so-called moral theologian can get. Man as an intellectual being uses his mind to make distinctions and thus by an act of his nature separates the mental from the material, distinguishing his own consciousness from the unconscious activity of his physical processes. It is obvious that the autonomy of self-identity and the ability to distinguish one's subjective self from the totality of objective reality is itself a spiritual element in man which cannot be reduced to matter and material processes. It is by maintaining his awareness of the difference between mind and matter that man lives as a truly human person. The blurring of this distinction by the new morality is not a service to man; it is rather a reducing of man to the level of an animal.

        The fomenters of the new morality seek to deprive doctors of the guidance of moral principles. Häring, for instance, tells doctors that it is now their competence as doctors to devise their own moral principles and to dialogue with the Church from a pluralistic viewpoint: "It is within the framework of a pluralistic society and even within a pluralistic Christianity and Church that medicine initiates and carries on its dialogue" (M.E., p. 9; cf. p. 58).

        The essential pluralism of the new morality is unscientific. In order to operate and exist, any science has to maintain certain central concepts which constitute its basic approach. A science can refine these concepts and synthesize new concepts with them, but it cannot immerse these central concepts in subjective experience or introduce contradictory concepts and still remain a science. The new morality is incurably unscientific because it has a pluralism of contradictory ideas at the very center of its outlook. The new morality unscientifically seeks to update and refine the moral viewpoint through the introduction of immoral thoughts; it unscientifically seeks to improve the moral teaching of the Church by including immoral opinions; it unscientifically subjects objective moral truth to the irrational drives of the body. Rational man cannot accept contradictory viewpoints and continue to be rational. The new morality, therefore, as a personal outlook, is schizoid in its very nature.

        The difference, then, between the theological outlook of "an ethicist subscribing to man's original nature as static and fully realized and one subscribing to a dynamic design" is this: a true ethicist, that is, a true moralist has to subscribe to a static and abiding concept of man in order to be able to think about man on a rational and scientific level; the ethicist who subscribes to a "dynamic design" not rooted in an unchanging rational concept of man is building his house upon shifting sand -- he is not a scientist at all.

        B. The Later Phase of the New Morality

        A big step in the propagandizing of the 'new morality' was marked by the appearance in June, 1977, of the book Human Sexuality, published under the auspices of the Catholic Theological Society of America. This book has the form of a 'report' to the CTSA, but its contents are intended for maximum diffusion among Catholics, as is obvious both from the manner of publication and from the admission in the Forward to the book that it is aimed "at a wider public of interested persons."

        The revolutionary character of this report is obvious from the affirmations it embodies, such as the following:

        a) that no physical expression of sexuality is in itself "morally wrong or perverse" (H.S., p. 110); consequently:
        b) that even those sexual practices which people have up to now considered deviant do not clearly produce evil consequences either for the individual or for society (H.S., p. 77);
        c) that the use of contraceptives is "wholesome and moral" whenever it helps couples to build "a community of love" for one another (H.S., p. 127);
        d) that deliberate masturbation (even after unresisted indulgence in erotic imagery) is never a serious sin and can be an act of virtue (H.S., pp. 220, 227);
        e) that fornication and adultery are in themselves morally good experiences (H.S., pp. 154-158, 178-179);
        f) that 'living together,' 'swinging,' and communal sex are not morally unacceptable (H.S., pp. 151-152);
        g) that Jesus was indeed opposed to the exploitation of women by men, but He did not prohibit self-liberating, other-enriching forms of prostitution, fornication, or adultery, joyously performed, as long as there was genuine concern for possible third parties involved (H.S., pp. 20-22, 30-31, 96);
        h) that homosexuals have a moral right to homosexual activity and to homosexual self-expression in the eyes of civil society (H.S., pp. l98, 214);
        i) that it is both harmful and unprofessional to 'moralize' with children who have the habit of sexual intercourse with animals (H.S., pp. 229-230);
        j) that fetishism and transvestism are a physiological and therefore not a moral problem (H.S., pp. 230-231);
        k) that the only presently effective treatment for transsexualism is a sex-change operation coupled with hormone treatments and supportive counseling (H.S., p. 233);
        1) that even hard-core pornography is not immoral for adults except to the extent that it may exploit persons by reducing them to objects to be used (H.S., pp. 235-237);
        m) that obscene words formerly not used in decent conversation are now just part of the common vocabulary (H.S., p. 235).

        Human Sexuality is a kind of Kinsey Report for Catholics; its aim is the overturning of traditional Catholic morality. The authors of the Report reduce all human experience to sexual experience, which is seen as the highest goal of human existence. "It is in the genital union," says the Report, "that the intertwining of subjectivities, of human existences, has the potential for fullest realization.... The possibility of shared existence, indeed of intimacy and union, emerges on the horizon of movement toward the other. There is a call, an invitation that goes forth from bodily existence to bodily existence. It colors every transaction between the sexes, adding interest and delight, promising mystery and disclosure and delivery from loneliness. At one and the same time it realizes the self and enriches the other.... Procreation is one form of this call to creativity but by no means is it the only reason for sexual expression.... Sexuality is the creator's ingenious way of calling people constantly out of themselves into relationship with others" (H.S., p. 85).

        The Report warns instead against approaches to extramarital intercourse that are "fear-dominated, consequence-oriented, and sin-centered" (pp. 173-174). Fear of venereal disease, fear of emotional entanglements, fear of committing a sin, fear of God's judgment are all excluded from consideration. The word 'temptation' is not mentioned at all as the saccharine romance of the new morality unfolds.

        The teachers of the new morality reject the objective content of the Bible, including the Ten Commandments, and place the entire content of morality in what they call the 'fundamental option.' If one is right in his fundamental option, they say, he is not wrong in whatever he does. This criterion of the new morality is, however, erroneous precisely at the level of the fundamental option. God has placed man face to face with a choice between good and evil. This is shown, for instance, in the command given to Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit. Every waking human being is aware that he or she must constantly resist temptations to indulge in forbidden fruit, that is, in experiences forbidden by the command of God. This is the fundamental option, as correctly presented by traditional moral theology.

        As regards licit and illicit sexual expression, the proponents of the new sex education fail to comprehend that marriage is not simply an ideal state of sexual intercourse, but is the only state of moral sexual intercourse. They fail to see that the state of matrimony is a human vocation precisely because it is an intellectual object worthy of the dignity of the human person. What makes sexual expression wholesome and moral within marriage is its understood place within the pattern of rational objectivity. The existentialist approach of the new morality not only deprives sexual activity of its place in rational objectivity, but it goes so far as to deprive its adherents of their whole immediate awareness of rational objectivity itself.

        Heideggerian existentialism cuts the subject off from direct contact with objectivity - interposing as his comprehensive intermediary the image of the subjective self. Not only the concept of the state of matrimony but all objective formulation of law and of truth becomes only remotely related to the knowing subject -- who is thus alienated from the pattern of objective reality. For the Heideggerian existentialist the only prime reality is the human subject experiencing his own self.

        The new morality suppresses the rational link with reality possessed by human beings. God is not a body-subject, but human beings are face to face with the reality of God in their fundamental human awareness. Truth is not a body-subject, but the scientist and the common-sense individual are in their essential rationality face to face with truth. Union with God is an ideal, knowledge of truth is an ideal, but both are ideals to be realized, they are not simply items of an obsolete epistemology. In the new morality of the CTSA Report all objective value has been removed and even the rational objectivity of other human beings has been suppressed. The only ideal that remains is the self-experience of sexual pleasure in the relationship of body-subject to body-subject. Such an ideal is the death of human expression.

        The approach of the new morality to life situations is scientifically untenable. The consciousness of objective reality is part of the human outlook; it is, in fact, a component of rational consciousness. It is above all a component of scientific consciousness. Scientists especially should recognize the absence in the new morality of any awareness of the objective intellectual medium operative in all true knowledge, and therefore also in the knowledge of moral behavior. Moral theology -- as contrasted with the immoral thinking of the new approach --develops in the awareness of a conceptual medium of morality, divided into two areas of consciousness. The first area is the awareness of legal norms, stemming from the nature of man and from the objective foundation of divine Revelation. The second, more immediate, area is the awareness (usually subconscious) of a supernatural light (infused at Baptism) by which the knowing subject has a special understanding of the value for him of moral virtue. Thus the objective medium of morality begins its objectivity from the consciousness of moral virtue, anchored to the pattern of objective morality as seen in the medium of the moral categories.

        The imposing personal confrontation of man with the reality of God, expressed by the inspired authors of Sacred Scripture also in terms of moral obligation, is systematically ignored by the authorship of the CTSA Report under the pretext that all biblical statements are "historically occasioned and conditioned" (H.S., p. 30). This reasoning is contrary to historical science, because historical science recognizes a timeless aspect of historical events and a supra-historical dimension of moral truth.

        The CTSA authorship proposes, as an excuse for disobedience to God, what it calls "the dynamic view of person" (p. 99). The well-formed Christian conscience, it says, knows that those guidelines reflecting the wisdom of Christian experience "must be read and understood not as commands imposed from without but as demands of the inner dynamism of human and Christian life." The well-formed individual conscience responsive to principles, values and guidelines remains "the ultimate subjective source for evaluating the morality of particular sexual expressions" (p. 98).

        This view of person is misleading. The 'old morality' has always acknowledged that the well-formed individual conscience is the ultimate subjective criterion of morality. What the 'new morality' is substituting is something else: it is saying in deceitful terms that subjective conscience is the only ultimate source of morality, whereas there is, in fact, also an objective source -- namely, reality itself and the will of God -- that cannot be overruled by subjective impressions.

        Awareness of reality tells us that uncontrolled, irrational sexual indulgence is sinful. Precisely because sexual desires are not an isolated psychological phenomenon, but are tied in with the whole pattern of human response, they must not be allowed to take control of the person. Sexuality is a part of human self-expression, but the human self knows himself as a subject facing a larger world of objective reality, and that reality, spiritual as well as material, must constantly play a role in the self-expression of the individual. The 'new morality' falsely imagines that human activity wells up from within the subjectivity of the person apart from any vital connection with the objectivity of his mind.

        What the CTSA Report calls the "embodied view of human existence," namely, that "we are our bodies" (H.S., p. 83), is not only an explicit denial of the existence of a separable human soul, it is also an implicit denial of the existence of God in objective reality and of the Incarnation of Christ as an historical fact. The Christian knows that union with God in heaven is not a sexual union of body-subjects (the mere thought of which is blasphemous), and the Christian knows that the human existence of Jesus Christ was not and is not circumscribed by his body. Awareness of the Divine Person of Jesus Christ helps Christians to become aware of the separable spiritual dimension of their own existence and of the value of their immortal soul. It is the soul of man that is made "to the image and likeness of God," and it is to man as body and soul that Pope Paul VI is referring in Humanae Vitae when he speaks of "an integral vision of man and of his vocation, not only his natural and earthly, but also his supernatural and eternal vocation" (Humanae Vitae, No. 7).

        The real fundamental option is whether to live by the spiritual or by the sensual. The CTSA, in subscribing to the new morality, has opted for the sensual over the spiritual, for subjective sexual pleasure over the objective reality of God, for the concupiscence of the flesh over chaste self-control and humble submission to the Commandments of God.

        C. A Problem for Doctors

        The 'new morality' is a problem for doctors. I wish briefly to describe this problem, especially with regard to the way in which it is affecting priests and religious, since it is largely through priests and religious that the new morality is being diffused throughout the Church.

        The new morality manifests itself in two stages: an early stage in which the subject retains the partial lucidity of a mind already separating into pluralism, and an advanced stage in which lucidity is blocked by erotic delusion. In the early stage the subject is simply conscious of having 'opened' his mind to some anti-religious system of ideas, such as the rationalism of biblical 'higher criticism,' the existentialism of Bultmann and Heidegger, the pansexualism of Freud or of Behavioral Psychology, the dialectical materialism of Marxism-Leninism. Unwary priests and religious allow themselves to be fascinated by the total contradiction that these ideas bear for the religious ideal to which they have consecrated themselves; they allow these ideas to remain in their minds and to take root there, assuring themselves that this pluralism of outlook is more modern and up-to-date. But, as the inimical ideas grow stronger, the essential unity of their moral outlook is broken, and they tend to react to feelings of conflict by loosening their grip on spiritual objectivity and moving it out of focus. The anti-religious ideas then take possession of their mind, and over a period of time they either abandon their religious commitment or revert to a life of religious hypocrisy. Either outcome is harmful both to themselves and to society.

        According to the old morality priests and religious must constantly guard their commitment by practicing detachment of the intellect and custody of the heart, by affirming over and over again their love for God, for purity, for truth, and for all that is sacred. They refuse to 'open' their minds to ideas that contradict this commitment; they maintain the composure of a unified outlook and do not allow their consciences to be torn asunder by the forces of pluralism. But the followers of the new morality are told from the beginning that they should open their minds to the good in these inimical systems and thus get outside of the 'ghetto' of a unified outlook. They are not presented with the full implications of the systems that they are asked to admit; they are instead assured in a spirit of naive optimism and irresponsibility that they can entertain and co-operate with the good in these systems and yet avoid the logical consequences.

        The advanced stage of the 'new morality,' at least as it has appeared in some places, is marked by a mental fixation upon sexual imagery which is so pronounced that it causes the subject to center his whole life around it and to build a structure of morality that has sexual pleasure alone for its substance and goal. The subject experiences a chronic compulsion to transform objective moral reality into erotic imagery. There is no limit to the amount of fact and truth that can be dissolved in the mind of the erotic thinker. The subject thus moves into a twilight world of sexual fantasy, from which he does not escape, even occasionally. We may refer to this advanced stage of the disturbance as 'pornological fixation.'

        Pornological fixation is a more serious condition than simple delectation in impure thoughts, because the pornological thinker seeks rationalizations to stifle the right reason of his conscience and is constantly assuring himself that his impure thinking is not impure. Sometimes the subject is also seeking self-justification for deviant sexual habits, but this is not always the case. It is impure thinking rather than impure acting that gives rise to the malady. The general cause of this disturbance at all stages is a yielding to what may be called 'spiritual concupiscence,' that is, to the impure attraction of those false ideas which draw the unmortified will away from chaste love for God and for the objective truth and holiness in which He is represented. Consecrated persons especially, that is, priests and religious, can never blot out completely from their memory the commitment they have made to love God. But the new morality is based upon repeated, even continuous, violation of that commitment, upon a chronic failure to maintain the fundamental option which they have accepted, and this fact shows that the condition is both deep-seated and dangerous.

        The new morality as a mental disturbance is a problem for doctors. It is the province of doctors to examine this disturbance and to determine its pathology. It is true that the mere dabbling in false ideas is not considered a clinical condition, but the ideas which cause this mental obsession reach far down into the elementary awareness of the patient. The advanced stage of the malady is clearly clinical, because the commitment of the patient to chaste love for God is now overwhelmed by a contradictory obsession. When the patient has turned the obsession into his or her world of reality, the borderline of schizophrenia would seem to have been reached. Doctors should take note of this problem.

        Indulging in pluralistic ideas is like drinking alcohol. Some can drink moderately without apparent harmful effects, but there is a danger for many people that the drinking will become excessive. Becoming a devotee of the new morality is like becoming a heavy drinker; the subject already has a problem. Radical, ingrained pluralism, especially in a priest or religious, is comparable in the mental order to being an alcoholic in the physical order; the followers of radical pluralism are theologically drunk. Worst of all is the stage of pornological fixation, in which the patient loses contact with reality. A clinical study of moral pluralism, and especially of the stage of pornological fixation, is needed by modern psychology. Doctors need to determine the pathology of this condition and to prepare themselves as doctors to treat this sickness.

        The victims of pornological fixation do not know that they are sick. The CTSA proudly advertises the shocking pornology in its Report on Human Sexuality as "New Directions in American Catholic Thought" (subtitle). Doctors can easily determine for themselves what this new direction is; they will find it to be the direction of priests leaving the priestly vocation, sisters leaving the religious life, celibates losing their esteem for purity, virgins losing their attachment to chastity. It is not irrelevant that the CTSA Report on Human Sexuality was prepared by two priests who had resigned from the ministry, two priests still in the ministry, and a sister maintaining some affiliation with the religious life, but whose statements betray an absolute pornological fixation.

        Doctors can also on a professional level help those in pastoral authority to realize the true nature of this disturbance. A certain pastoral practice has begun to take root in some places according to which resigned priests and religious are being given teaching and pastoral positions within ecclesiastical. structures on the ground that "they have experience which should be made use of." What is not being given attention in the new pastoral practice is the presence of radical pluralism and of deep ideological conflict in the minds of many of these persons. A few years ago a well-known priest-psychologist did for the American Bishops what he called a psychological study of American priests, using the new sexual morality as the basis of his approach and concluding with the judgment that priests who live by the old morality are "sexually immature." The pretext for this judgment was "the findings of modern psychology," but the real motive came to light when this priest abandoned his priestly vocation. In the meanwhile many of those in pastoral authority believed or half-believed the findings of his study.

        It needs to be shown from a medical viewpoint that turning back from a religious vocation as a vocation to celibate love for God is not a step towards human self-fulfillment, that sexual maturity is not identical with genital expression, and that radical pluralism in the mind of a priest or religious is a psychic defect which blocks the ability of that person to teach faith and morals. Once this fact has been clinically demonstrated, as it has already been theologically demonstrated, it will be easier for pastoral authority to avoid this pastoral confusion. It is ignorance of this psychological fact that is enabling many priests and religious who have mentally resigned from their spiritual. vocation to retain the name and function of priests and religious, thereby doing untold harm to the faithful entrusted to them.

        The syndrome of the new morality shows a tendency towards sexual messianism, that is, a compulsion to teach the call to genital experience as the 'real meaning' of the Gospel. The CTSA Report recommends a full program of sex education at all levels of religious instruction, based on the thrilling new discovery that no sexual indulgence is a sin in itself. This sex-and-religious education reaches down to the earliest moments of moral awareness, destroying the defenses of children before they have acquired a knowledge of moral truth, and cultivating sexual vice in a systematic way. Such sex education prematurely awakens the sexual passions of children, inducing tendencies which overwhelm their minds before they are able rationally to cope with them. A priest-sexologist who set up such a program for American pastors afterwards "became a person" by abandoning his priestly vocation. This fact tells something about the objectivity of his program.

        The new morality as a group phenomenon is a danger to society. The corrupting influence of the new sex education is having far-reaching effects. The followers of the new morality are not content to live in the dream world of their own construction; they reach out to hurt people in the real world. When the followers of the new morality approve fornication and adultery, homosexuality and bestiality, they are only reciting the conclusions of their subjective meditation on forbidden fruit, but in doing so they are supporting the action of pressure groups who know what these things really are. Most dangerous of all is the admission into the new morality of Marxist ideas with the consequent tendency to collaborate with the Marxist program of revolution. Here the new moralists are political dupes, instrumentalized by unknown "political scientists" for purposes that they do not see. In face of this phenomenon, doctors have to act as a group and as qualified members of society so as to exert pressure in the opposite direction. This involves the setting up of special committees to study the new morality as a political instrument and to counteract its thrust. This, too, is a problem for doctors.

        What has been called the 'new morality' is not morality; it is merely self-deceit. The new moralists are people with a problem; their opinions about morality are only a testimony of their own feelings as sick individuals. The 'experts' of the 'new morality' should be listened to in this respect alone and offered the help of doctors, once they have come to realize that it is the doctors who should be giving the advice and it is they who should be receiving it.

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