Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

          Christmas break is approaching.  (I’m a teacher so that term still has meaning to me.)  I will be doing some traveling and not have consistent access to a computer, so this will be my last post until January 6, for the Feast of the Epiphany.  I will update the “News” section from time to time, but not on a daily basis.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Devastating Power of Sexual License

The Devastating Power
of Sexual License

          Many people recognize the decline our society is in.  Much ink has been spilled on the subject.  Those who can read the signs of the times understand that this decline is not primarily economic or military, it is moral.  And it’s not really a decline; it’s a free-fall.
          Those who understand what is happening also recognize that the eroding of sexual morality is not on the periphery, it is right at the center.  In this post, I want to summarize an interesting article from the AFA Journal, which reflects on the work of two non-religious social scientists from the last century.
          J.D. Unwin and Pitirim Sorokin published some very interesting studies cataloging the decline of cultures throughout history.  One of the universal characteristics in cultural decay, after the period of creative growth had turned to stagnation, has been a changing attitude toward monogamy and the institution of marriage.
          As extramarital sexual activity becomes more accepted in a society and the family begins to break down, a “sexual anarchy” emerges and ushers in a society that casts aside self-discipline in almost all areas and becomes obsessed with pleasure and self-indulgence.  The result that follows is not hard to guess.
          This pattern has been evident in our culture for nearly 100 years, but especially since the “sexual revolution” nearly 50 years ago.  We’ve seen sexual morals cast aside, divorce rates skyrocket, contraception and abortion become commonplace, and now the definition of marriage itself under attack.
          The destruction these evils have left in their wake is now manifest in every aspect of life.  Like that of so many other social scientists, the conclusions these men’s research seems to point to is that we are in the later stages of cultural collapse.
          But there is a silver lining in Unwin’s and Sorokin’s work.  Remembering that neither of the men was religious, it is interesting to note that they conclude that historically there has always been a minority who have resisted this cultural decline, maintained a commitment to sexual restraint and marriage, and become “morally heroic.”  This group of “counter-revolutionaries” has, on occasion, won back a culture that has grown mired in decline.
          The bad news, however, is that, “Most peoples and leaders of decaying societies were unaware of their cancerous sickness,” according to Sorokin.  “They continued to live in a fool’s paradise, and hopefully looked forward to the realization of their unrealistic dreams.  Their leaders attacked all honest appraisals of the situation and called them false prophecies of doom and gloom.”  It’s hard to believe these words were written in 1956, about a trend studied in historic cultures.  I’ve seen very little that has better characterized our own time and place.
          The conclusions we can draw from these men’s work and apply to ourselves are clear.  First, history agrees that it is the culture and not us, that is crazy.  Second, we can only expect more persecution, especially from the cultural leaders in media, politics, etc.  Third, people of faith are the only hope our culture has to survive.  We already knew this because Christ Himself is the only true source of hope.  If our society is not to survive, however, our faithfulness and moral heroism (achieved only through the Grace of God) will be the legacy our age leaves in Heaven.