A decade ago, during a semester in which I was teaching a course in Business Ethics, I remember walking into the office of my department chair (a Catholic gentleman) and, in jest, mentioning that I had assigned an article that I had read as a student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary- On Barnyard Morality. After nearly falling out of his seat for fear of administrative and student repercussion, I quickly apologized and proceeded to spend some time discussing the contents of the article that was written by my former professor, Dr. Janet Smith.
In the article, Professor Smith explores the “higher views” of sexuality given by the Natural and Divine laws and contrasts them with what has become a reality for a vast segment of American society; namely, that we have reduced ourselves to the level of barnyard animals.
“It is precisely because man is not on the same level with animals that he is called to live in accord with a higher view of sexuality. Whereas animal sex is a fleeting union and results in simply another member of the species, human sex is meant to promote a profound bond and brings forth an immortal soul.”
Given my professor’s “high level” analysis, I would like to diverge momentarily to offer an analysis of a lower degree- one that I have coined the Martian Test. If for a moment we can imagine space aliens having the ability to explore our nation’s culture, what might they consider to be our dominant values? By monitoring U.S. broadcast and cable signals, they would be exposed to a spattering of new and old movies, animal shows, 24/7 News, and various other programs in which we human beings “tell all” via public confessions. Their analytics would gather plenty of data; however, they would likely conclude that the majority of America’s attention is spent on promoting values that not only encourage maximum levels of sexual activity, but also promiscuity and self love; values which are reinforced and uplifted by an onslaught of advertisements touting- to nauseating degrees- products such as Cialis, Viagra, and various forms of artificial contraception. And in regard to these many advertisements, our alien friends might even be amazed at our willingness to ingest these products into our bodies, especially given the disclaimers read at the end of the them, indicating their potential for creating side effects ranging from blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, etc.
After their full and comprehensive analysis, it would not be a stretch to say that these Martians would conclude that human sexual activity is “recreational” in nature; having as it’s primary goal the satisfaction of our animal instincts and urges, at any cost; whenever, wherever, and however they might manifest themselves. And while pondering and scratching their heads for awhile (assuming they have heads)- they might even ask other questions. Is the purpose of human sexual activity solely about the “enjoyment” of the partners? And if that is the case, is it also true that the procreation of children is no longer a potential “fruit” of the conjugal act? If so, then how does new life arise? Their theologians might even go so far as to ask whether there is any inherent responsibility associated with sexual activity?
Having just returned from the prayerful and powerful Right to Life activities in Washington, DC, where annually we remember the more than 50 million children murdered in the aftermath of the infamous 1973 “Roe v Wade” decision of the United States Supreme Court- I find myself embroiled in many words and emotions: horror, disgust, shame, sorrow, and hope. The first four words rightly describe the reality of state sponsored killing; whereas the latter, hope, offers us a roadmap to where we may be heading.
Hopeful? Yes. As one who has been blessed through my work with young people, I have noted their willingness to consider the reality of situations- especially those biological and eternal truths that advocates of Roe seek to deny. Namely, that human life begins at conception, and that, through reason, we may come to know right from wrong.
Over the last few years, we have been assured that hope and change have once again arrived upon the scene. And yet, despite the rhetoric, I remain unclear as to whether this is the hope and change that Blessed Mother Teresa spoke of years ago when she addressed a National Prayer Breakfast audience- and surprisedly chose to speak out about the reality of abortion.
“Abortion is really a war against the child, and I hate the killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love. The father of that child, however, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to live, but kills even her own child to solve her problem. And by abortion, the father is taught that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into that world. So that father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”