Following the moral way of life prescribed by Jesus isn’t easy. Accordingly, many people — even some who think of themselves as Christians — don’t follow it in any meaningful way.
Human nature, being as it is, we tend to favor those moral points that don’t conflict with our self-interest, and to avoid thinking about the ones that make us examine our consciences.
Or else, we assume that how we behave in life doesn’t really matter, since everyone will eventually go to heaven anyway (a false idea, but an extremely popular one).
There’s nothing new about any of this. In the Gospels, we’re told that some who were initially attracted to Jesus eventually found his message too challenging and walked away from him. He accepted that choice out of respect for human free will.
The thinking that’s become prominent in modern times not only reinforces the tendency to follow our own desires; it’s added a therapeutic dimension. Many so-called “experts” insist that those behaviors are good which make us feel good. On the other hand, traditional moral precepts, as taught by the Church, are not only inhibiting; they’re actually destructive of happiness.
Thus, feeling becomes the measure of what is right and what is wrong.
Such ideas have had profound consequences. Perhaps the most extreme is the rise of gender ideology.
Claims that people exist along an “LGBTQ+” spectrum, extending all the way to pan-sexuality (having sex with anybody or anything), and that our gender is determined by how we “identify” ourselves, have remarkable appeal. You can’t watch TV, view a movie, read a publication, surf social media, attend a sporting event, or walk past a billboard without encountering some celebration of unlimited sexual variety.
The new 117th Congress has even passed a measure that requires use of gender-neutral language in congressional documents to accommodate this way of thinking.
That it contradicts the understanding of human biology which has existed since the beginning of time doesn’t matter. It accords with the spirit of the age (what’s called the “zeitgeist”).
That it contradicts Scripture goes without saying. Jesus never taught that feelings are the bottom line of morality. In fact, the Gospels make it clear that we should not feel good about something that’s wrong.
Just the opposite, in fact. Those who assume they can do whatever they wish, as long as it makes them feel good about themselves — that lets them be “free to be me,” as we hear it put so often — are acting in ways contrary to natural law. They’re lying to themselves and endangering their immortal souls.
“The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,” St. Paul writes in his First Letter to the Corinthians. And, he adds, “the Lord is for the body,” by which he means that God pays close attention to what we do.
How is it that society has come to promote such distorted views of sexuality?
Unfortunately, another aspect of the “zeitgeist,” this spirit of the age, is a movement toward centralized, authoritarian power. If you can supersede the Natural Law understanding of human sexuality, and weaken the institutions that uphold it — foremost among them the Church — then right and wrong are determined not by God, but by the “elites,” that privileged group that exercises influence over government.
Politics then defines morality. And not only in sexual matters. When politics is supreme, everything becomes political. There is no place for God. There is no Sacred Order. Human beings are no longer to be considered God’s children, possessors of those rights he has given us. We become mere tools to accomplish somebody else’s worldly goals.
This is why churches have been attacked, religious symbols desecrated, believers mocked and intimidated. And it’s why sexual confusion, disorientation, and perversion are celebrated.
Some people understand this connection. But they’re usually dismissed as tin-foil-hat-wearing crackpots obsessed with fears about the “New World Order.”
Those doing the dismissing are in the ascendency right now, taking up the reigns of power.
We shall see how long they continue to promote these distorted views of sexuality, before deviancy creates issues so great they can’t avoid dealing with them: social issues, psychological issues, and most assuredly spiritual issues.
Following Jesus’ moral teaching isn’t easy. It demands commitment, discipline, self-control, love. But the alternative is already destroying lives. How long before it destroys civilization?
A priest of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, Rev. Michael P. Orsi currently serves as parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, Florida. He is host of “Action for Life TV,” a weekly cable television series devoted to pro-life issues, and his writings appear in numerous publications and online journals. His TV show episodes can be viewed online here.