When I consider the multicolored flags condoning sodomy and sexual self–abuse, I am struck by the contrast with my own introduction to Pride Month. I grew up in Greenwich Village, New York—one of the gayer parts of a cis–challenged city—where the first march for “gay power” took place in 1969, becoming the modern “pride parade”. Typically, my family and I went abroad early in the summer, and (certainly by design) I was spared the trauma. Still, one day in June, when I was around 9, my siblings and I had our first taste of the parade. We exited the subway on 6th Avenue downtown, right into the thick of the bacchanalia. I recall, vividly, the half–naked men dancing in American–Indian costumes on the flotilla; the look of horror on my mother’s face; the expanding, sinking feeling in my stomach that these people were doing something horribly wrong. I had no notion what they were doing, but I did see and feel, with perfect clarity, its ugliness. The aesthetic sense is highly intuitive, and children sometimes can see the ugliness of evil long before understanding its causes.
The Anti–Sexual Revolution: The violent rejection of man’s biological character—the aggressive re–definition of human nature as an autonomous Will governing a merely technological body.
Revolutions are ugly. The Sexual Revolution gave us Woodstock; but today, when your well–dressed friend speaks casually, over pâté and fine red wine, of his ‘domestic partner’, you would be rude, or quaintly prudish, to bat an eye. The same holds for the Anti–Sexual Revolution. The violent rejection of man’s biological character—the aggressive re–definition of human nature as an autonomous Will governing a merely technological body—have settled respectably into a culture of ‘Frank Capra gay’. There is a deeper continuity between Manhattan and Stillwater, a passage from disordered revolution to disordered convention. Now it is the sweet, old ladies, mellow–toned proprietors of soap and antiques stores, who shake their heads and say, “I’m sorry, Dear, but you can’t come in here with your Hate.”
This should not cause alarm. As Catholics, we are used to the ebb–and–flow of perverse trends we have outlasted over the centuries. Whatever battles remain (and they are considerable), the patient, persistent militancy of the Pro–Life Movement has emerged upon days when the sanctity of life is once again a formidable, respected position. Christus vincit—vicit et vincet.
There is also a positive advantage to the Stillwater phenomenon. Now that the smoke and roar of the Anti–Sexual Revolution have subsided, and we are no longer up against the external violence of revolution, we can focus on content. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t recommend abandoning the external fight and settling entirely for guerilla warfare. We have open cultural and political battles yet to win in the public square. But we are in the calm after the first onslaughts. We know that the re–submission to Christ, of our whole created nature, is no longer a battle but a war. We are in this war for the long haul and can (must) take some time to think.
As I’ve suggested, the LGBT Revolution is really an Anti–Sexual Revolution. As such, it participates in a philosophical history that goes by many names, including ‘rationalism’, ‘dualism’ and ‘idealism’. The central error can be expressed this way. A human being is a free–floating Mind, ideally suited for conquest and control of the physical world. In other words, what makes us human is strictly our mental or rational faculties, and our bodies—together with everything in our physical environment—should be conquered, manipulated and chained to the service of our minds.
It is the sex dictated by the person’s mind that (according to the APA) must be served and reinforced by social, legal and even medical changes. On such a theory, the body is no longer part of human nature.
But isn’t this the Catholic position, or at least the classical and medieval Western position? Shouldn’t our bodies be disciplined and ‘run’, so to speak, by our minds? Our Christian understanding of the soul comes to us, first, from Plato, who in his Republic developed a theory of the ‘tripartite’ (three–part) soul. The human soul consists of physical appetites, passions (emotions), and reason. Plato understood ‘justice’ as the arch–virtue of possessing the correct balance, relations and proportions between these parts, so that each part performs its natural function and does not outstep its bounds. The function of reason is to oversee and, if necessary, restrain the other faculties of the soul. Nevertheless, reason is not the entire soul. Much like a society cannot be reduced to its government, or a body to its brain, the human soul cannot be reduced to its mind.
Christianity, especially the medieval scholastic tradition, synthesized Plato and Aristotle in a way that carefully advocates the compound nature of human beings as both mental and physical. The Incarnation itself is our most powerful historical evidence for this principle. If God the Son had to assume a body in order to become human, then the body would seem to be an essential part of our human identity.
Isn’t this obvious? Who ever met a disembodied person? However, consider the conventional description of what is termed “gender dysphoria”. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), “gender dysphoria” is the “psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.” As a remedy for this problem, the APA proposes:
“Multiple domains of gender affirmation, including social affirmation (e.g., changing one’s name and pronouns), legal affirmation …, medical affirmation (e.g. pubertal suppression or gender–affirming hormones), and/or surgical affirmation.”
What, exactly, is being “affirmed”, and how? It is not the biological sex, but the person’s “psychological sense” of what his sex ought to be. In other words, it is the sex dictated by the person’s mind that (according to the APA) must be served and reinforced by social, legal and even medical changes. The external world must conform to my subjective world. On such a theory, the body is no longer part of the human soul. It becomes a technology of the human soul. The human being is no longer a mind–body composite, whose authentic self–knowledge should involve an accurate understanding of his own natural body. He is a mind that uses a body, much as we use our clothes and transportation. If so, his “psychological sense of gender” must be his only authentic gender. When I consider and want myself to be male, but my body is female, then I simply am male, and my body has failed to serve its purpose.
The pride Satan championed was a false pride that would sooner mutilate and shrink our nature than see, in its full glory, the reflection of a supreme Creator.
Consider a different analogy. What is a fictional story? Essentially, it is the developed ideas and the particular words conceived by an author. If the author, writing out his story, should miss or miss–type a word, does the omission or the typo instantly become an essential part of the story? Does a blotch of ink dripping onto the paper become part of the story? Of course not. To the theorists of the Anti–Sexual Revolution, this scenario is comparable to human sexuality. Sexually, we are essentially what our mind ‘dictates’. Any particular body that ‘mistypes’ this mental dictation is no more than an ink–smear on one’s authentic personal identity.
Both for Catholics and for philosophy, this theory is untenable. If my body is not an essential part of who I am, any more than my clothes or my phone (and perhaps less than my phone), then neither can sexuality, of any kind, be a part of who I am. Sexuality is not a mental construct. Even if ‘gender’ refers to variable conventions around sex, it is a meaningless concept without sex. The WHO defines “gender” as “the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed”. This presupposes an understanding of “women, men, girls and boys” that cannot meaningfully be uprooted from biological ground. However many words are coined, about ‘convention’ or ‘expectation’ or ‘assignment’, sex is necessarily a physical phenomenon. Why else should they encourage the “affirmation” of gender dysphoria by medical manipulations?
Any refusal to acknowledge our physical nature must, logically, involve a rejection of our sexual nature. If sex characterizes the body, and the body is not an essential part of human nature, then sex cannot be an essential part of human nature either. We are a–sexual beings. That is why I refer to the ‘Anti–Sexual Revolution’.
From Manhattan to Stillwater, we are experiencing, not a revolution of sensuality, but a revolution against sensuality. Promiscuity has become only a political tool, a useful rhetorical device for the total rejection of our bodily nature. Behind this rejection is a fatal, obsessive desire, for the control of nature.
June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart is more than an image; it is an existing organ of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who became man by assuming a body that He will possess for all eternity. When we honor the Sacred Heart, we acknowledge, among other things, the ultimate divine “affirmation” of our bodies by their Designer. As rational creatures, we are called to know ourselves for the entirety of what we are: creatures composed of body and soul. Any mental perception of ourselves that fails to see a definitive physical structure is, at the very least, incomplete knowledge.
From Manhattan to Stillwater, we are experiencing, not a revolution of sensuality, but a revolution against sensuality. Promiscuity has become only a political tool, a useful rhetorical device for the total rejection of our bodily nature. Behind this rejection is a fatal, obsessive desire, for the control of nature, that took shape in the 17th century. Renée Descartes dreamed that human beings would become “masters and possessors of nature”. Still, this dream predates even the 17th century. It was modeled for us, long ago, by Lucifer himself, who (like the original Stonewall demonstrators) quickly exchanged power for pride. The power that he relinquished was true power, however; the power of Plato’s “just man”, who does what he was designed to do. The pride Satan championed was a false pride that would sooner mutilate and shrink our nature than see, in its full glory, the reflection of a supreme Creator.
Should we let ourselves be discouraged, in June, for the persistence of the original sin? If truth has no place indoors––well then, let’s enjoy the fresh air!
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