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Friday, February 22, 2019

Father Matthew Schneider is dead wrong

I shouldn't be surprised, it was written on Patheos, but still...when a priest excuses Catholic laity reading pornography-for any reason- I am equally disappointed, disheartened and pissed off. To make it worse, I've followed this priest on Twitter for years and really enjoyed his tweets. But I can't allow that to prevent me from saying what needs saying about this.

Patheo's blogger, Fr. Schneider decided to regurgitate the story of Franciscan University of Steubenville and the book "The Kingdom" by Emmanuel Carrère that was (has since been removed) on their reading list. 

Father writes "Earlier this year, Church Militant got up in arms about Franciscan University of Steubenville including The Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrère on its reading list. Stephen Lewis, the professor in question was demoted. Two arguments support the use of books like this: they are decent literature and reading some books you disagree with helps you grow intellectually."  

"...up in arms..." he says that like its a bad thing! 😕

Let's look at what Church Militant, myself and other's got "up in arms" about shall we? 

Quote from Church Militant's article on this subject: 
An excerpt from page 234 (graphic):
"Saying that evenings are quiet in a mountain village in the Valais region is an understatement, and I dedicate some — in fact almost all — of them to watching pornography on the Internet. Most of what's on offer leaves me indifferent, not to say disgusts me: extreme gang bangs, pu****s getting f***** by machines, pregnant women screwed by horses ... My most persistent inclination is toward female masturbation."
Carrère details an example of "incredibly exciting" porn titled "brunette masturbates and has two orgasms," going on to discuss how the porn is "intimately linked" to his speculation of Mary. He also offers gratuitous discussion of the female pubic area.
What follows is a frame-by-frame account of the masturbation scene, including graphic details about the woman's genitals, where and how she touches herself, the position of her legs and body, and discussion of the type of orgasm she has. The author admits, "I have watched it twenty times over, and I will watch it again."
In the next section the author makes clear he rejects the existence of "the Holy Virgin," but acknowledges that Jesus had a mother, although a human mother who "had sex" and probably "masturbated."
Yes Father, that IS something to be "up in arms" about! You as a priest should be outraged over this being fed to anyone, let alone college kids! It's disgusting, insulting and blasphemous to the Virgin Mary! How can a priest not be "up in arms" about this vile trash? That the laity have to explain this to the clergy is sadly ridiculous. 😞

Father Schneider finishes his blog post with: 
"As a first point, this controversy was clearly overblown. The Kingdom has a few scandalous passages, but from as far as I can read two of the novels I had to read in a Catholic high school were more scandalous. Beyond that, especially once someone has gotten to that level of maturity, one should be ready to read some works that contradict the Catholic worldview, so you can understand others and respond. In the seminary, we read Nietzsche and Marx. It is helpful to get varied perspectives so we can understand the world around us not just get caught in our own reality."

Seriously? This from a Catholic priest?

I don't know what the Church of Francis is teaching these days (who can keep up?), but here is what the Catholic Church used to teach on the subject. 


Pontifical Council for Social Communications
(in part due to length-emphasis my own)

5. Among the alarming developments of these years has been the widespread increase of pornography and wanton violence in the media. Books and magazines, recordings, the cinema, the theater, television, videocassettes, advertising displays and even telecommunications frequently offer a representation of violent behavior or of permissiveness in sexual activity that reaches the point of being openly pornographic and morally offensive.

6. As reflections of the dark side of a human nature marred by sin, pornography and the exaltation of violence are age-old realities of the human condition. In the past quarter-century, however, they have taken on new dimensions and have become serious social problems. At a time of widespread and unfortunate confusion about moral norms, the communications media have made pornography and violence accessible to a vastly expanded audience, including young people and even children, and a problem which at one time was confined mainly to wealthy countries has now begun, via the communications media, to corrupt moral values in developing nations.

9. Ordinary experience confirmed by studies conducted around the world has recognized the evil effects of pornography and violence in the media.[5] Pornography in the media is understood as a violation, through the use of audio-visual techniques, of the right to privacy of the human body in its male or female nature, a violation which reduces the human person and human body to an anonymous object of misuse for the purpose of gratifying concupiscence; violence in the media may be understood—especially in this context—as a presentation designed to appeal to base human instincts of actions contrary to the dignity of the person and depicting intense physical force exercised in a deeply offensive and often passionate manner.

Specialists may disagree among themselves about how and to what degree particular individuals and groups are affected by these phenomena, but the broad outlines of the problem are stark, clear and frightening.

10. While no one can consider himself or herself immune to the corrupting effects of pornography and violence or safe from injury at the hands of those acting under their influence, the young and the immature are especially vulnerable and the most likely to be victimized. Pornography and sadistic violence debase sexuality, corrode human relationships, exploit individuals—especially women and young people—undermine marriage and family life, foster anti-social behavior and weaken the moral fiber of society itself.

11. Thus, one of the clear effects of pornography is sin. Willing participation in the production or dissemination of those noxious products can only be judged a serious moral evil. Likewise, production and dissemination of these materials could not continue if there were not a market for them, so those who use such materials not only do moral harm to themselves, but contribute to the continuation of a nefarious trade.

13. It has been said that there can be a psychological link between pornography and sadistic violence, and some pornography is itself overtly violent in theme and content. Those who view or read such material run the risk of carrying over such attitudes and behavior into their own relationships and can come to lack reverence or respect for others as precious children of God and as brothers and sisters in the same human family. Such a link between pornography and sadistic violence has particular implications for those suffering from certain forms of mental illness.

14. Even so-called "soft-core" pornography can have a progressively desensitizing effect, gradually rendering individuals morally numb and personally insensitive to the rights and dignity of others.

Exposure to pornography can also be—like exposure to narcotics—habit-forming and can lead individuals to seek increasingly "hard-core" and perverse material. The likelihood of anti-social behavior can grow as this process continues.

15. Pornography can foster unhealthy preoccupations in fantasy and behavior. It can interfere with personal moral growth and the development of healthy and mature relationships, especially in marriage and family life, where mutual trust, openness and personal moral integrity in thought and in action are so important.

16. Indeed, pornography can militate against the family character of true human sexual expression. The more sexual activity is considered as a continuing frenzied search for personal gratification rather than as an expression of enduring love in marriage, the more pornography can be considered as a factor contributing to the undermining of wholesome family life.

17. In the worst cases, pornography can act as an inciting or reinforcing agent, a kind of accomplice, in the behavior of dangerous sex offenders - child molesters, rapists and killers.

18. A fundamental message of pornography and violence is disdain, the consideration of others as objects rather than as persons. Thus, pornography and violence can eat away at tenderness and compassion and can foster insensitivity and even brutality.

22. We shall speak here of seven sectors with obligations in this matter: professional communicators, parents, educators, youth, the general public, public authorities and the Church and religious groups.

23. Professional Communicators: It would be unfair to suggest that all communications media and all communicators are involved in this noxious trafficking. Many communicators retain high personal and professional standards and seek to fulfill their responsibilities with a strong commitment to moral norms and the common good. Their efforts—especially the efforts of those who seek to provide wholesome family entertainment those deserve recognition and encouragement.

We urge these communicators to join in formulating and applying ethical codes for the communications media and for advertising which respect the common good and promote sound human development. Such codes are particularly necessary for television, which makes it possible for images to enter directly into the home where children may often be alone and unsupervised. Effective self-control is always the best control, and self- regulation by a media can be the first and best line of defense against those who would corrupt the media and society itself by seeking to profit from pornography and violence.

We also urge communicators to help make better known through the media the steps which can be taken to stem the tide of pornography and the exaltation of violence in society.

24. Parents: Parents must redouble their efforts to provide for the sound moral formation of children and youth. This includes inculcation of healthy attitudes toward human sexuality based on respect for the dignity of every person as a child of God, on the virtue of chastity and on the practice of self-discipline. A well-ordered family life in which the parents are obviously faithful and committed to each other and to their children provides the best school for the formation of sound moral values.

Today, too, children and young people must be taught how to be discriminating, informed consumers of the media. Parents, in particular, influence their children through the example they give in this matter; parental passivity or self-indulgence in regard to the media teach false and damaging lessons to the young. Of particular importance to young people is the example their parents give of true love and tenderness in marriage and of readiness to discuss matters of concern to their children in a loving and gentle manner. It must not be forgotten that, in matters of human formation, "more is obtained by reasoned explanation than by prohibition."[6]

25. Educators:  The chief collaborators with parents in the moral formation of young people must be the educators. Schools and other educational programs should support and inculcate the social and ethical values that promote the unity and health of families and of society itself.

Of particular value are programs in media education to develop in young people a critical attitude and properly formed skills of discernment in the use of television, radio and other media, so that they might know how to resist manipulation and how to avoid merely passive listening and viewing habits.

It is also important that schools emphasize the need for respect for the human person, the value of family life and the importance of personal moral integrity.

26. Youth: Young people themselves can help to stem the tide of pornography and violence in the media by responding positively to the initiatives of their parents and educators and by taking responsibility for their own moral decisions in the choice of entertainment.

27. The Public: The general public also needs to make its voice heard. Individually and collectively, concerned citizens—including young people—should make their views known to producers, commercial interests and public authorities. There is an urgent need for continuing dialogue between communicators and representatives of the public so that those involved in the communications media may learn more about the real needs and interests of those whom they serve. 

29. The Church And Religious Groups: For the Church, the first responsibility is the constant, clear teaching of the Faith, and therefore, of objective moral truth, including the truth about sexual morality. In an era of permissiveness and moral confusion, this requires that the Church be a prophetic voice and often a sign of contradiction.

The so-called "ethic" of immediate personal gratification is fundamentally opposed to integral human growth and fulfillment.

Education for family life and indeed for responsible life in society requires formation in chastity and self-discipline. By contrast, pornography and wanton violence can blind individuals to the divine image in the human person, can weaken marriage and family life, and can do serious harm to individuals and to society itself.

Whenever possible, the Church must join with other churches, denominations and religious groups in teaching and fostering this message. It must also make the best possible use of its own institutions and personnel to give education and formation concerning the media of social communications and their proper role in individual and social life. Special attention should be given to assisting parents in their efforts.

Thus, media education belongs in Catholic schools and other educational programs, in seminaries[8], in formation programs of religious and secular institutes, in the continuing formation of priests and in parish programs for youth and adults. Priests and Religious in pastoral and educational work should themselves be discriminating consumers of media who give good example in what they read and view.

30. Finally, a merely censorious attitude on the part of the Church toward the media is neither sufficient nor appropriate. Instead, the Church should be engaged in continued conversation with responsible communicators to encourage them in their work and to provide assistance where it is needed or requested. Catholic communicators and their professional organizations - with their special insights and experience—can play a key role in these continuing conversations.

31. As they conscientiously evaluate productions and publications in accordance with clear and consistent moral principles, Catholic critics and communications organizations can offer valuable assistance both to communications professionals and to families. In fact, the guidelines on the communications media present in existing Church documents, including recent reflections by many bishops on the problems of pornography and violence, deserve extended study and systematic application.

32. This document is intended to address the widely expressed concerns of families and of the shepherds of the Church and to invite even more general reflection of an ethical and practical nature on the problem of pornography and violence in the communications media. It is also intended to encourage all to follow the injunction of St. Paul: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).

Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Vatican City, May 7, 1989, 23rd World Communications Day.
Archbishop John P. Foley, President

Monsignor Pierfranco Pastore, Secretary

I'll finish with this...

In Christ, 

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner 


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