Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Washington Post: Get Rid of Virginity

Honor et virtus post morte floret

The Washington Post yesterday published, “Twelve Things the world should toss out.” Number two on the list – Virginity.  The short editorial by Jessica Valenti was another sure sign of the moral ineptitude of the press who constantly pontificate on what is healthy while being bereft of any shred of moral certitude.

Her thesis is that we harm our teens by abstinence programs that use pledges to assist in encouraging the youth to stay pure.  While mentioning a 2008 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that demonstrates that abstinence programs are unhealthy for our youth and expose them to risky sexual behavior – she never mentions the numerous studies of the long-term effects of the promiscuous.

One point I must concede to Ms. Valenti.  She says in her article, “And why don’t we mind that, increasingly, that standard is more about image than actual purity? Tween pop singers are trotted out wearing both miniskirts and promise rings, allowing their handlers to profit off the girls’ sexuality without offending anyone’s parents.” That we allow the double standard of saying we are “saving ourselves” while dressing and speaking like a common harlot is unacceptable.

“But the clothes make me feel good because the guys notice me.” “It is not my problem that the guys can’t keep their eyes to themselves.” “I know that the singers and groups I listen to live less-than-moral lives but haven’t you listened to their music?”

Better yet, my favorite over the years are the teens and young adults who dress in skin tight clothing or apparel that is two sizes too small while speaking on issues of virtue. Ladies, the guys are not noticing you – they cannot see you, just specific parts of you – regardless of age.  As a general rule, it you find yourself constantly having to look down to see if you are exposing anything, it is either too low or too short.  As for the other excuses, the gospel message is clear – you are your brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9) and music has always been understood as a prayer and reflection of a musicians’ life.  Now, I am not saying that we should listen to musicians who only have attained transforming union but morality like faith is more caught than taught.

My other beef, the word virginity. Virginity does mean in colloquial use as the state of one who has not participated in any form of sexual intimacy.  Our Catholic understanding is that virginity is more specifically understood as the state of being fully integrated body, mind and spirit.  And the marital embrace, whether it is experienced inside or outside of marriage is meant to re-integrate us through the total self-giving of one to another.  Yet, if we look around us, we complain about self-image while encouraging behaviors that degrade it.

The fact remains that the present culture has no idea what it means to exercise virtue.  Thus, our kids do not know.  So, where do we start?  Ourselves of course.  Aristotle and Aquinas are very clear that modesty is not just what we wear but the chaste expression and experience through all the senses.  And not just for us but our fellow man. Seriously, why does every person agree that it is bad to place a bottle of liquor in front of an alcoholic but modesty and virtue in entertainment and personal hygiene is not even considered? Thank you Washington Post for reminding us that until we start living the gospel the culture has no hope at all (I Chronicles 7:14).

There is another possible solution – Virginity was illegal in Rome, is the U.S. re-branding?

5 Responses to Washington Post: Get Rid of Virginity

  1. Joe Adams says:

    And the comparisons of the U.S. to Rome continue to be made. And I think they are justified.

    One point I noticed that Ms. Valenti made that I wanted to harp on, but in a different way. “Her thesis is that we harm our teens by abstinence programs that use pledges to assist in encouraging the youth to stay pure.” Pledges are about as useful as New Year’s Resolutions. By the time we get to February you barely remember what you set out to do just 4 weeks previous. Pledges carry no weight to them, there is no repercussion for not doing it. You simply continue on doing what you normally would have done and blend in with the other cattle being led to the proverbial moral slaughter. I honestly don’t think there is enough fear being put into people’s minds about the consequences of actions or even in-actions. But, of course, I am preaching to the choir.

  2. Jerry says:

    Here’s my single question for those boneheads-“Why is it we can teach our kids not to smoke-cause it’s bad for them or drink sugary sodas-cause it’s bad for them, but we can’t teach them that sex outside of marriage is bad for them?”

  3. OK good to see- new blogs are always helpful! Blessings.

  4. Bob says:

    This is like saying: “Well, people murder so why not just make it legal so people will stop feeling bad about doing it.” This kind of moral ineptitude just doesn’t cut it in reality. It is in fact this kind of amoralism that has gotten us to the place where we are today. The solution to the world’s problems isn’t MORE selfishness, it is less. Until they realize that and start preaching it (and practicing it), I fear this country will continue to crumble.

  5. Mrs. Nod says:

    “The Reed of God” book (a meditation on Mary) discusses society’s warped image of virginity as hard, bitterly, un-ripe apples instead of its true beauty. I don’t have the book beside me or I would quote it. It has lovely imagery.

    I have long noted that Christianity is a hard sell. The paradox of the Cross. You want true joy. Here, suffer for it. The immorality of today is a symptom of pain. Escapism. People are trying to “feel better,” to escape their painful realities. And for a short time, it seems to work. But that is an illusion.

    During one of the harder periods of my walk, when depression drained all my emotional hope, I remember commenting to Mrs. Q that what choice did I have but to continuing “walking forward.” My “choice” was to seek temporary escape by some “vice” (ex. alcohol) or to continue on and hope that God would eventually give me the “emotional” joy to make the walk less burdensome. I’ve seen the damage that those vices do (alcoholism), so the “choice” was no choice. It was a test of love as an act of the WILL.

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