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This site is a Roman Catholic fiction and commentary blog written in the epistolary style of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. More »

The Root of All Good Is Love

By Prof. Ernest Thornberry
December 21st, 2006

Greetings Bunglehorn,

I’m sure by now you are aware of the recent Guttmacher study that found 95% of Americans have premarital sex. How convenient. The results support their general opposition to abstinence-based sexual education programs. CNN ran the story off the AP wire as a “Reality Check,” a code phrase lifted directly from the Guttmacher press release that is intended to embolden critics of conservative policy as well as the Catholic Church in their tireless portrayal of her as outdated, old fashioned and not contemporary. This article will help couples engaging in premarital sex feel justified because “everyone is doing it,” or at least ease the pestering feelings of shame, guilt and fear.

In war against an overwhelmingly strong enemy, it is generally not prudent to fight head on. You increase your chances greatly by fighting as insurgents, sneaking up on the enemy and taking potshots when they let their guard down. Your aim is to wear down his will to fight and to wear down the enemy’s support of the war. Eventually, he’ll forfeit and victory is yours. I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain one of our critical strategies in the War on Souls. I’ll demonstrate how this report is an indicator of our success.

The Enemy’s Gameplan

Build Strong Families
In our battle, if we hope to win all of society, we have to take potshots at the family, the Enemy’s most basic unit. The family is a key stronghold because it provides the natural setting for humans to learn the Enemy’s notion of selfless love, where people are loved simply for who they are rather than for what they do. Healthy families foster safety, comfort and human connection, all of which are essential for nurturing the bonds between each other and with the Enemy. This is evident when the Enemy revealed the path to His eternity by synthesizing the 10 Commandments down to two so that even men could remember them:

Love God and Love Your Neighbor (Mark 12:28-34).

In addition to the Enemy’s handbook or Bible, we can look to the Holy See’s comments on the family as the cornerstone of society:

The family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love… The family is an intermediate institution between individuals and society, and nothing can completely take its place… The family is a necessary good for peoples, an indispensable foundation for society and a great and lifelong treasure for couples. It is a unique good for children, who are meant to be the fruit of the love, of the total and generous self-giving of their parents… The family is also a school which enables men and women to grow to the full measure of their humanity.Pope Benedict XVI

Strengthen Marriage to Build Families
To strengthen family, His universal unit, the Enemy instituted marriage wherein a man and woman, through the mutual self-giving of love, join Him in the act of creating and sustaining life. Marriage is a very special kind of love marked by a public lifelong commitment as well as the ability to bring forth life. Other relationships may retain one of these characteristics, but marriage is the only one with both, and therefore, the most natural foundation of a family.

Research also indicates that marriage is good for individuals, especially children. Married people are healthier, live longer and have higher earnings than single people. Children raised in families with two married parents are five times less likely to be poor than those raised by a single parent. They are also less likely to drop out of school or become a teen parent, almost certain paths to dependence and poverty. Moreover, it’s not just the presence of two parents in the home that matters. Children raised by their married, biological parents have better developmental outcomes than children who grow up with stepparents or with unmarried, cohabiting parents. Even high-conflict marriages have been shown to be better for children than the stress and loss of parental income associated with divorce.

Promote Fidelity to Strengthen Marriage
True love requires the mutual sharing of vulnerability, so marriage is held together by fidelity. All cultures appreciate some flavor of fidelity. People in the Far East understand fidelity to be grounded in loyalty, unity and cohesion, whereas Western-style democracies understand fidelity to mean mutual consent. Regardless, the essence of fidelity remains rooted in virtues that support the deepest kind self-sacrificing love: loyalty, honor, mercy and forgiveness. Fidelity does not allow men to walk in and out of loving relationships, rather it requires them to defend and sustain loving relationships. It requires self-mastery of sexual desires and forces dialog about needs and fears for the preservation of self care.

Therefore, our strategy is:

1) We corrupt society by destroying the family.
2) We destroy the family by wrecking marriage.
3) We wreck marriage by attacking fidelity.

The Enemy has designed a fortress, but it is vulnerable where men are weak and soft: between their ears and between their legs. Man has always struggled to follow the Enemy’s command to be chaste, but it’s only until recently that they’ve lost the reason why. This bears repeating, they no longer understand why the Enemy calls them to chastity, they discard sexual morality because it feels good and it is plainly common.

Make no mistake, the Enemy calls for men to be chaste for a reason. Children need safety and comfort, which proceeds from the intimacy found in marriages marked by fidelity. Children from intact marriages are far more apt to be productive citizens than those from broken relationships. A strong family marks a strong society which is beholden to the Enemy.

How do we attack?

Step 1: Concupiscence
We can always twist what the Enemy intended for good to serve our own purposes. In this case, the very yearning of the soul for good, concupiscence, comes equipped with an irrational hunger. That is to say, there is a certain pleasure in eating so that the body is nourished. An ice cold glass of water on a hot day brings satisfaction beyond the body’s need for liquids. Then it follows, the Enemy made the act of physical love to be pleasurable and gratifying both for the creative sake of new life as well as the unitive sake of bonding the parents in their care of that life. (Since we are merely spirits sans bodies, humans appreciate such hunger better than you and I, for they are the Enemy’s special race of Embodied Spirits. Even the Enemy shares their unique understanding when he entered their world as a divine man.)

You should constantly remind your patient of his own sexual hunger (“horny” in laymans terms). If he is inclined to take custody of his eyes, remind him that there is nothing wrong with admiring the human form. After all, the body is a gift of the Enemy. Expose it constantly for him. The cute waitress, the gal on the corner with a short skirt, the woman in the commercial with a tight blouse. The more he sees, the more he hungers, the more irrational he is apt to become. Once he is able to divorce the body from the person, he is on the path toward indulgence.

Step 2: Pride
Fortunately, humans are weak, so you can pervert the gratification from an act of self-giving to an act of self-serving. Twist the logic with the original sins of pride. It’s a difficult struggle for men because it can be hard to recognize and correct, especially in conjunction with coveting. For example, in their desire for sex outside the commitment of marriage, and justified by their pride, people fail to recognize how sexual intimacy is a complex language of expression. They foolish grasp at false love through serial monogamy and cohabitation, then wonder why they fight so bitterly, why they behave so irrationally outside of bed and why the relationship ultimately fails. They miss the connection between true committed intimacy and all forms of communication, the proper melding of reason with the lower appetite for the sake of goodness. Ideally their trust in others is so eroded they practice promiscuity – sexual expression without any commitments, to achieve a warped concept of self care.

Notice one of the key observations in the press release:

Further, contrary to the public perception that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, the study shows that even among women who were born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 had sex before marriage.
Guttmacher Institute

Ha! Their idea of “the past” is one generation, not to mention the first generation exposed to Our Father’s genius of mass contraception, which their critics contend is the root cause of the evils Guttmacher aims to fight: promiscuity, subjugation of women and poor sexual health. So blinded by their pride, (or perhaps it’s there own need for the comforts of job security?) they promote mass contraception despite its correlation to the ill effects they’re trying to prevent. Don’t you find such irony humorous? Who says we can’t have a little fun on the battlefield?

Want more? How about this – the Guttmacher study is bogus! You’d think the journalists covering the story would apply the critical thinking skills they learned in their liberal arts programs. Had they done so, and not allowed their pride to accept the distortions that conform to their worldview, they might also have reported:

1) The figures are extreme.
2) The Guttmacher Institute is affiliated with Planned Parenthood, the largest US abortion business.
3) The study includes adults through age 44. People that tend to wait to get marriage are more likely to engage in premarital sex.
4) 96% of parents believe abstinence education is best for teens.
5) The study contradicts recent studies that found abstinence education delays the onset of sex as well as helps young people address issues of healthy relationships, self-esteem, decision-making, and effective communications, all related to their safety and health.
6) The problems could be mitigated if nonmarried people would practice abstinence. Yet the study concludes that governments should stop funding abstinence education, even as 37% of Americans are born out of wedlock.

Another example of pride is the elitist position that somehow government can do a better job of raising children than parents can. Rather than hold parents to their high responsibility, they want to replace them. I know the problems in logic are obvious to you and me, but never underestimate the power of pride in man.

Step 3: The Media
All three enemy fronts, fidelity, marriage and family are subject to our power in the media. We attack fidelity through sexual imagery, again playing on the sin of coveting. We’ve made tremendous strides since the advent of cable TV, to the point we can be overt in advertising and “adult entertainment.” Reality shows contestants and game show hostesses wear apparel once reserved for the beach. Gratuitous sex scenes that neither advance the plot nor add character dimension are now accepted, partly because they were accepted even when other literary devices would have been sufficient.

We attack marriage and the family in the media by redefining them. Mind you, families have always been broken by war and poverty, so the traditional definition of the family has always had exceptions. Even the Enemy’s Holy Family had an adopted father. It’s only recently that some families enjoy the modern comforts of prosperity for the general benefit of children. To fight this trend, we simply make the exception the norm. We portray orphans, single parenthood, same sex marriage, polygamy and other alternatives as successful examples of how families can function. Actually, our creative laziness allows us to suspend truth. Situational comedies are no longer based the environment, rather on family construct. Each situation becomes more bizarre, to buck clichés and introduce new ideas of conflict for the sake of drama. We can also attack marriage by giving voice to “experts” on how marriage subjugates women and provides loss of individual freedom.

You see, we have many weapons at our disposal. In counseling your patient, steer him towards our efforts in the media. Tease his sexual hunger and make him desire that which he doesn’t have. Instill a sense of pride so he believes he is doing what is natural and right. Barring his awareness, you should see signs of distrust of women, the fear of commitment in marriage and the disdain of children. Please keep me posted.

Warmest Regards,
Wigglebrick

2 Comments to “The Root of All Good Is Love”

  1. 1

    tryptiline_fabrica

  2. 2

    Dear Abby, you are too kind. I am merely one more prodigal son who sees the world through his newfound Catholic faith. If you like reading this “Devil’s Advocate” style, check out the original and best CS Lewis’s Screwtape Letters as well as Peter Kreeft’s Snakebite Letters.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, I’m sure other readers will relate. Blessings, Earnest.

    Prof. Earnest Thornberry

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