Faith & Life

Humanity at a crossroads

December 1, 2021

Aurelio Porfiri

I think I have already talked previously about the notion of “paradigm,” the idea used in science that denotes the coordinates of a stable system and its changes. The notion of “paradigm shift” was popularized by Thomas Kuhn in 1962, with his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. A paradigm shift signals a transition from one system to another.

I think we can invoke this change with regard to sexuality, where we observe man becoming more and more feminized and sex being exhibited but as if it were behind a cage. We are free to feel something but forbidden to approach it, otherwise, we risk thousands of possible troubles if the counterpart “feels” harassed. In short, the nature that Catholic doctrine had dignified by moderating it, has now become unnatural. Nobody really understands where to stop, because I have heard that even an invitation to dinner may be called harassment, a completely innocent compliment. Of course, if the other party is interested then there is no harassment, but it has always escaped me how a person who tries a shy approach can understand if his attention is desired or not, if he does not take the first step. Of course, prevarication is never good, but if you are not moving, you risk staying at the stake all your life. Today, unfortunately, the choice is bad: either doing nothing or doing too much.

Yet we know well that the game of the sexes requires resourcefulness. Kindness plays an important role but sometimes it must leave room for a healthy impetuousness. The journalist Massimo Fini, who has non-trivial points of view, says: “We must start from the consideration that for biological reasons, which later became cultural, it is up to man to make the first move. In fact, no matter what you think about it, and he himself says about it, man is not always ready for sex. Not even the woman is, but her poor predisposition has less drastic effects than the male’s defiance, which makes penetration technically impossible.”

Man is a hunter precisely because he does not always have a shot in the barrel. This is why it is up to him to open the game while her task is to be chased (which, among other things, through the mechanism of rejection and prohibition, helps to excite the male, to put him into operation). Therefore, there is always a moment in which he must necessarily make an intrusive act in the person and in her latu sensu sexual sphere (a caress on the hair or neck, a touch of the body, an attempt to kiss).

Today, if you stand up or, for whatever reason, intend to march on it, even such mild acts can constitute sexual harassment and, in the climate of sexophobic feminism, lead to criminal convictions or have heavy consequences (a New York post office employee was fired for sending a bouquet of roses to a colleague). An unbreathable climate has been created that has made man even more fearful than he already is. Especially if he is in a particularly blackmail position.

An American banker confessed that rather than ride an elevator with a single woman (anything can happen in fifty floors) he prefers to wait for the next ride. Because in matters so impalpable and indemonstrable, her word takes precedence. The alternative is verbalization. Possibly written and certified. In the United States there are forms in which the two put pen to paper their intention to have sex and, in order to avoid nasty surprises (such as those of Mike Tyson and Popi Saracino, both sentenced to several years in prison because she, at the last moment, had denied herself), the woman also declares how far she is willing to go. They are extreme cases but perfectly inserted in the contemporary tendency to regulate, codify, legalize everything, even the unfathomable matters of love” (Di [zion] ario erotico). 

This is truly an important problem that signals a very serious paradigm shift. And the Church should be extremely concerned about this, since Christianity perfects nature, it certainly does not take it away: gratia non tollit naturam, sed perfecit. John Paul II said the following in 2003 to the participants in the Thomistic Congress: “According to the perspective of St. Thomas, the great theologian also qualified as Doctor humanitatis, human nature is in itself open and good. Man is naturally capax Dei (Summa Theologiae, I.II, 113, 10; S, Augustine, De Trinit. XIV, 8, PL 42, 1044), created to live in communion with his Creator; he is an intelligent and free individual, inserted in the community with his own duties and rights; he is the link between the two great sectors of reality, that of matter and that of the spirit, belonging by full right to both. The soul is the form that gives unity to his being and constitutes him as a person. In man, St. Thomas observes, grace does not destroy nature, but brings its potential to completion: ‘gratia non tollit naturam, sed perficit’ (Summa Theologiae, I, 1,8 ad 2).” I think it must be clear to everyone how this change being forced into the way we experience sexuality is deeply and painfully unnatural.

There is a Latin phrase that seems to be perfectly adequate to describe the times we are living in: quem Iuppiter vult perdere dementat prius, Jupiter makes those against whom it lashes itself mad first. We have already noticed this attitude several times, especially as regards sexuality. You will remember how the Catholic Church has always been accused of being sexophobic and the sworn enemy of free and recreational sex. Now that the Catholic Church actually exercises much less influence, one would expect to see this finally liberated sex exercised free of all constraints. In reality, today’s society proves to be prey to a truly and profoundly sexual phobic culture, but in the worst way, a kind of schizophrenia that very much resembles the madness mentioned above.

On the one hand, harassment elevated to a system, for which everything seems to fall within the possible accusation of abuse so as to make men fearful of taking steps towards the women who attract them, so as not to risk the transition from “courting” to “gentlemen, the court!”. On the other hand, we have this sex exhibited but without the joy of true sexuality.  We have the condemned of a certain world of entertainment condemned to their sexualized image even at an age in which one should certainly begin to think seriously about other things, as in the case of the singer Madonna, which makes people argue for her nipple exhibition when she is now aged 63. If the figure continues to be that, I dare not think about what we should discuss when she is aged 73 and so on.

In short, we are in the sexual culture of “looking but not doing” which is then also well represented by the dramatic drop in the birth rate and the continuing threat of punishments linked to sex, from AIDS to viruses of which we are all well aware of by now.In reality, the Church has never been as opposed to sex and how one could go about it; she intended to regulate it within a vision of the world that saw the family institution at the center. I don’t know how much better this madness is that we have to live, in which we have to discuss “senile problems” and of the joys of intimate life, now we just have an idea that is lost in the folds of the present. (Image by StockSnap from Pixabay)