shift the emphasis on
focus on healing.
Serving the Self |
Disobeying God |
Same-sex Attraction |
Obedience to False Authority |
To Die in All Things |
The Proof |
The Call |
STOOD in silence,
smoldering in anger at the smug self-assuredness of her accusers. She knew
in her heart why she had committed such an act. Surrounded with hypocrites,
she was angry with the world, and she was angry with God. She was fed up
with the misery she had to endure and wanted some excitement, some satisfaction,
some sense of something for herself.
Still, she felt a strange curiosity
about that man squatting on the ground in front of her. What is he
going to do? she wondered. She cast quick glances at him, yet she never
caught him looking at her.
She waited for what seemed like
an eternity. People were shaking their heads and walking away, muttering
to themselves. She looked at him. He didnt look at her. He just scratched
in the dust with his finger.
Then, with a mysterious calmness,
he looked up and asked her a question. She shrugged and shook her head, almost
whispering, No. No one sir.
For the first time she felt him
looking at hernot just at her, but into her. His next
words stunned and confused her. Neither do I condemn you. Her
heart quivered as it tried to comprehend what was happening.
Yes, what was happening? Call
it compassion. But note something carefully. He had something else
Go, and from now on do
not sin anymore.
Many persons who retell this
story neglect these final words. They try to make it seem that compassion
amounts to a broad-minded acceptance of anything. But that misses the
Jesus came to us to save us from
our sins. His mission was not to condone sin and pretend it didnt exist.
His mission was to show us how much we do
sin, how much our sin hurts us, how much it hurts others, and how much we
will lose if we persist in it. His mission was a mission of compassion: to
call us away from sin and into holiness—to cause our hearts to quiver in doubt
about our assuredness in our sin.
Moreover, as this story of A
Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:111) makes clear, sexuality and
sin are closely entangled. A holy life depends on sexual purity. A holy life
calls us to chastity.
Sin feels good. Period.
gives us raw physical pleasure. It can be intense and intoxicating. But sin is
not bad because someone in authority, for some arrogant and mysterious
reason, says so. Sin is not bad because the Catechism says so. Nor is sin
bad because it feels good. Sin leads you away from the goal of holiness and
into the empty pleasures of merely feeling good. Sin misses the point of
God is the point of life, and, in
regard to sexuality, He gave us genitals so that we could bring new life into
the world. Note that we arent creators; God is the Creator and we are
procreatorsthat is, we stand in the place of the Creator. Our genitals
therefore serve the purpose of
They serve love by bringing children into the world who will learn to love
LoveGod Himselfto become love themselves.
Despite its intensity of feeling, sin
defiles love. Sin is the hatred of love. Sin makes pleasure its own end, and so it
ends in failure.
Still, sin feels goodand that
points to the ultimate spiritual battle. Despite the throbbing intensity of
sins attraction, we have to struggle against its pleasures and struggle to remind
ourselves that, despite all the allure, sin is the hatred of love.
The battle against sin can be fought only
with love, and chastity is one powerful weapon in
Chastity is not
the repression of sexuality, it is the purifying transformation of
As the full human
response to divine love, chastity encompasses
all the psychological, social, and physical consequences of accepting that
the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians
6:19). In chastity we renounce lust, dress
modestly, set aside our
illusions about the self, and
distance ourselves fromor, in scriptural
language, die tothe corrupt social world
in which we all live, to prepare ourselves for holy service in the Kingdom
When every child
is born, it is in danger of being devoured by the devil. Children conceived
in lust are all that more vulnerable to demonic influence
throughout their lives. If parents do not take their procreative responsibility
seriously, they will be raising demon fodder, not children of God.
Chastity is not just an attitude
toward human sexuality, it is the full acceptance
of the human responsibility to the holy lifestyle
that Christ preachedand lived in His bodyand that contemporary
society, in all its psychobabble about happiness and
self-fulfillment, tries its best to subvert.
Chastity, then, is a way of
lifethe way of life, the only lifestyle, the only
orientationfor anyone who would follow Christ and claim
to be Christian. And woe to the soul that spurns chastity. Love is
chaste, and to spurn chastity is to spurn love. If you spurn love, you will
find that in the end you are left with nothing
but everlasting broken emptiness. To
spurn chastity is to spurn Christ Himself, who, in His real and physical
suffering on the Crosstruly present to us in
the broken bread of the Eucharistoffers
the only means to heal our human
There is but
one price at which souls are bought, and that is
suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure
love understands these words; carnal love will never understand
as told to St.
Chastity is also a choice, a
choice of love. Moreover, just as chastity is a choice, the rejection of
chastity is also a choice, a choice of
Those who ridicule the Church for its teachings about chastity, saying, for
example, that the Church has a phobia about sexuality, are those who themselves
have a phobia: the fear of choosing to live a
holy life with all the
suffering, all the
sacrifices, and all the
love a holy life entails.
Still, we have an obligationan
obligation that ensues from having chosen to follow Christ in the way of
the crossto not hate those who hate chastity, to not fear those who
fear suffering, to not reject those who reject holiness itself. And even
if they close their ears to our words, we have a compassionate obligation
to pray that they might someday, before they die, make the choice to listen
to, rather than reject, the Holy
It was almost the end of his
shift. He was off at noon that day; a game was on TV early that afternoon,
and he wanted to get home as soon as possible. He saw the bag on the floor.
There were several men standing by a distant window talking on their cell
Its a nice bag. It must belong to one of them,
he told himself, as he walked by.
Later, as he was watching the game, he saw the news item: the
bomb had killed and injured dozens of tourists.
When he was called before his boss, he stammered, trying to
justify his actions.
What do you mean, you didnt think it was anything
serious? His boss glared at him. We have procedures to follow!
Youre fired! Get out of my sight!
Its a horrific
But what if this were your teacher,
a priestor youwho, having disregarded responsibility to defend the
Tradition of the Church, had to stand before Christ in final judgment?
Depart from Me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew
Because chastity is a matter
of respect for our bodies, we must be responsible caretakers of our bodily
sexuality. Saint Paul said (1 Corinthians 6:1220) that a lack of respect
for sexual and reproductive functions are offenses against ones own
body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Psychologically,
these offenses are acts of
and narcissism, by definition, is the psychological
defense of self-gratification.
Self-gratification is a rupture with
the divine because it offends real love: it places
ones self above love of God, Who made heaven and earthincluding our
bodies. The offense of self-gratification makes the temple into a brothel, so to
Any activity that reduces the
sexuality of the body to something no more than a
form of entertainment is narcissism because
it seeks to make yourself seen through your
desire for another person. When you look at another
person with desire, you do not see a soul enrobed in chaste beauty; you see
only the exuberant fantasy that your aching throb of loneliness might be
alleviated through someones body. Narcissism makes your pleasure
in having your body fondled the focus of your satisfaction.
It makes your pleasure in playing with the body of another
personturning Gods temple into your toyinto the
focus of your satisfaction. Thats self-love placed above
love of God, isnt it?
So where does all this
self-gratification placed above love of God lead us?
Well, lets find out.
In order to understand how friends,
teachers, professors, the entertainment industryand even priestscan
lead you away from God, under the guise of being compassionate,
consider how the serpent tempted Eve to disobey God (Genesis
First, he led her to doubt God
by making Him seem irrational: Did God really tell you not to
eat from any of the trees in the garden?
Then he led her to doubt that
God was being honest with her: You certainly will not
Consequently, Eve saw that the
fruit was good for food and looked really nice. It was
natural, so it had to be good for her, she thought.
So, persuaded by disobedience itself, she disobeyed Gods command and
satisfied her desire.
Moreover, we continue to be tempted
in the same way today by those who convince us to doubt God so that we will
ultimately disobey Gods commands. Today, we
are induced to look with desire at behaviors that separate us from a holy
life, saying to ourselves, How can there be anything wrong with something
that seems so nice?
Thus we are drawn away from God
by so-called well-meaning persons whoas odd as it sounds
to say itlack compassion for us. They lack compassion for us
because they seek only their own self-gratification.
The need for compassion
and the danger of being led away from God find a particularly poignant
merger in regard to feelings of same-sex attraction (SSA). These feelings
can occur in children because of dysfunctional
family dynamics that affect a child
For example, a girl whose mother jumps to conclusions
and does not listen emotionally to her daughter, and whose father does not
demonstrate an authority of competent justice tempered with considerateness,
can be attracted to the emotional openness of another girls personality.
Likewise, a boy whose mother tends to be angry, critical, and demanding, and
whose father does not demonstrate an authority of emotional understanding,
confidence, and protection, can be attracted to feelings of acceptance and
protection from another boy. In these cases, the fantasies of attraction are
not natural expressions of the girls or boys being; instead,
the fantasies point to the psychological truth of what is missing in the
attraction fantasies, therefore, does not mean that a person is
Consequently, children need
competent, emotionally-sensitive psychological explanations of their feelings
of same-sex attraction. But if children do not trust their parents to understand
their confusing and embarrassing feelings, the children will be afraid to go to
their parents for guidance. Thus, lacking any psychological resources, the
children will be driven into shameful isolation
and will eventually end up in the hands of political activists
who, instead of offering psychological truth, will direct the children into a
political agenda with its purpose of undermining the Catholic faith.
When this occurs, conditions
are ripe for a crisis of identity.
Halloween. Mardi Gras. Masquerades.
Our cultures are full of ways we pretend that we can change our identities
by changing our outward appearances.
In times past,
a persons hat really did identify his profession. And even today we
wear secular uniforms (uni- means one and form
means shape or outward appearance)as well as
religious habits and liturgical vestmentswhich give one common appearance
to all who perform a particular function.
Most of us, however,
understand full well that a uniform, in itself, does not mean anything. Unless
you have been trained to perform a job, no matter what uniform you put on
you wont be able to perform that job.
there is one uniform which does define us absolutely and which can never
be changed. This is the uniform of the body, and it defines us sexually,
according to reproductive function.
sexuality is a pure function of biology. The problems
with sexual identity begin in the
Notice how children tend to believe that what is seen is real.
If a child sees a man wearing a Santa Claus costume, the child will think,
That is Santa Claus. In the same way as a child attributes
reality to appearance, it often happens that individuals will unconsciously
confuse their sexual functioning with the costumes which create a sexual
But the truth
is that no matter what clothes you wear, no matter what kind of play you
enjoy, no matter whom you choose as playmates, no matter how you actno
matter, even, how you might change your body surgicallyyou can never
change your genetic reproductive reality.
So why, then,
would anyone develop a desire to change a reality made by God? Well, even if
you accept the reality of a non-gendered immortal soul, the basic facts of bodily
life—reproduction and death—are still painful realities. These realities don’t mean
anything; that is, they do not carry any mysterious secrets about life—they are just
facts of life. A fantasy of changing your personal reality by changing your gender
or your God-given heterosexual “orientation” derives from a misguided belief that
your sexuality contains some mysterious, meaningful secret that will release you
from the hard facts of social emptiness and death. But social emptiness and death
are the result of separation from God, and no human effort can restore the soul’s
union with God that is lacking in all of us. Only the divine grace of real love
can lead a soul back to God.
Consequently, if you fail to recognize
the inherent fraud of all social identity and
cling to the belief that sexuality has any meaning apart from reproduction, you
cling to an impossibility: the unconscious attempt to escape
responsibility to genetic reproductive reality and,
ultimately, responsibility to God Himself.
It would be far better to find
your identity in something that never changes, something that can never be
taken from you.
All flesh is
and all its glory like the flower of the field;
the grass withers,
and the flower wilts;
but the word of the Lord remains forever.
Two guards lead you into a cold,
harshly lit concrete room. The room is empty except for a man kneeling on
the bare concrete, blindfolded, with his hands bound behind him. You recognize
him as one of the terrorists who have been undermining your work. A military
officer enters. He quietly removes the pistol from his holster. Holding it
by the barrel, he hands it to you, glancing at the man kneeling on the
Here. Take this. Put it to his head and pull the
You feel stunned, your mind momentarily paralyzed by the incongruity
of the events.
Go ahead, take it, the officer says. Kill
him. You have my permission.
What would you do? If you are
like most people, you will likely say that you would refuse. Fair
enough. But what would you really do? What would you actually do in
those particular circumstances? Well, if you are like most people, in those
particular circumstances there is a good chance thatunless you have
the same living depth of faith that allowed the Christian
martyrs to not betray their Traditionyou
would kill the man.
Now, thats a shocking
statement. But consider two important social-psychological scientists from
the 1960s and 1970s who investigated obedience to authority. In his experiments,
Stanley Milgram found that ordinary adults would be quite willing to inflict
horrifying electrical shocks to other persons when told to do so by an authority
Philip Zimbardo, in the Stanford Prison
found that when ordinary, nice students played roles of prisoners
and guards, the situation quickly degenerated into demeaning inhumanity to
such an extent that the experiment had to be called off.
Years later, Zimbardo wrote,
. . . ordinary people, even good ones, can be seduced, recruited, initiated
into behaving in evil ways under the sway of powerful systemic and situational
So think carefully. Raised Catholic,
you now hear teachers and priestsas well as television, movies, music,
video games, magazines, and newspaperstelling you, Go ahead.
If it feels good, do it. You have our permission.
Yes, they give you their permission
to do anything that makes you feel goodand they even insinuate that
there must be something wrong with you if you do not comply. You are being
Those who don’t understand the reality
of the great spiritual battle against evil are being duped by an anti-Christian
society into believing that lust and hatred have the power to redeem our emotional
You are being duped especially by the
entertainment industry, an industry that for decades has been working subversively
to destroy Christian family values. Thanks to movies and television, the romantic
illusion has become the sustaining hope of life; Christian faith has been depicted
as contemptable hypocrisy; humility has been mocked as
cowardice; hatred, revenge and violence have been extolled as virtues; power, strength,
and cunning have been glamorized; foul language has become customary; women have been
induced to forsake feminine modesty and dignity and to imitate
masculine arrogance and aggression; and immodesty, nudity, fornication, and adultery
have become routine behaviors.
Yes, you are being duped and brainwashed
by the “progressive” liberal agenda of the entertainment industry into sanctioning
the idea that sin does not exist, that religion is foolish,
and that lust and violence are necessary for your happiness. It has all been going
on openly right under your own nose, and you haven’t even noticed it. As a result,
instead of taking personal responsibility to detach yourself
from subversive social illusions, you willingly consume
them, over and over. Sin enslaves you even as you are told that sin does not
So what is your responsibility here?
Well, you’re not responsible for others trying to dupe you, but you are responsible
for learning the truth and resisting the subversive attempts of others to dupe
To Die in All
In its early
years, the Church struggled against the opposition of the Roman government,
which drew its identity and strength from pagan religious practices. Thus,
when Saint Paul founded and visited churches, he had to remind the converts
not to get caught up in the prevailing cultural norms.
to the Ephesians, he wrote, I declare and solemnly attest in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the pagans dotheir minds empty, their
understanding darkened. They are estranged from a life in God because of
their ignorance and their resistance; without remorse they have abandoned
themselves to lust and the indulgence of every sort of lewd
Then Saint Paul
went on to remind the Ephesians that lewd conduct and lust were opposed to
Christian conduct. He paused in reflection, perhaps thinking about those
individuals in the community who had been preaching untruths and leading the
Christians astray. Then he added, almost sarcastically, that he was supposing
that when they learned about Christ, He had been preached to them and taught to
them in accord with the truth that is in Jesus rather than in accord
with prevailing cultural ideas about lust and the indulgence of every sort of
What, then, is
this truth that is in Jesus? Well, Saint Paul continued, it is the
truth that you must lay aside your former way of life and the old self
which deteriorates through illusion and desire, and acquire a fresh, spiritual
way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in Gods image, whose
justice and holiness are born of truth.
Or, stated in
its most elegant simplicity, you must die in all things of human identity
to have life in all things divine.
knows how to die in all things will have life in all
St. John of
The Sayings of Light and Love, no. 160.
The proof of all this is in Christ
another as I have loved you.
Did He cheat us or lie to us?
No. Did He desire the death of His enemies? No. Did
He use us for His sexual pleasure to find happiness?
No. Instead He suffered for us, as an act of
In His Passion He showed us what
real love is: to will the good of
And in todays worldthis confused and
broken worldlove continues to
manifest itself by calling us away from sin into
holiness. The false love touted by contemporary society does
not call us into anything but sin; instead it tempts us to abandon holiness
for the sake of sensory feelings. But as long as you are concerned about what
you can get from life, you will always be dissatisfied. Everything material—food,
entertainment, drugs, masturbation, pornography, erotic pleasure in another
person—passes quickly only to leave us overpowered by cravings for more.
Real love calls us into acts of
sacrifice and givingnot the giving of material things that merely bribe
others to like us, but the giving of qualities such as patience, kindness,
understanding, mercy, forbearance, and forgiveness. These are compassionate
qualities whose ultimate purpose is the salvation of other souls.
Christ calls us all to live lives
of love, with Him, free from our own narcissistic
identities. Thus Saint Paul said, I have
been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives
in me (Galatians 2:20).
You were dictated to and reasoned with.
You feel emotionally misunderstood and lonely. You crave affection. You feel
confused. Then you discover those who seem different. They’re free thinkers.
They’re not afraid of the unusual. They call to you, “Come, be like us.
We won’t reject you.”
You want to be understood. You want to
feel appreciated. You want to belong.
But stop. Consider. Christ was
misunderstood. Christ was rejected. Yet He never sought the approval of others.
He brought truth. Many did not want it. Still, He called them—and He still calls
us—to chaste purity in the Kingdom of Heaven. Anyone who wants it can attain
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the parents who have
died in all things, who keep their love for God as the entire reason for
living, who pray constantly with their minds
in their hearts, and who, for the sake of love, forsake the satisfaction
of personal convenience and take the time and make the emotional sacrifices
to dedicate themselves to providing their children with explanations, comfort,
reassurance, protection, and guidance into the way of
holiness. Blessed are the children who,
for the sake of love, forsake the satisfaction of personal identity, the
satisfaction of comforting themselves, the satisfaction of reassuring themselves,
and the satisfaction of disguising narcissism and eroticism as
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they will see God. Blessed are those who, for the sake of love, forsake
personal pride and choose to live in chaste purity of heart and take
pride only in the Lord.
Please note the word open in the phrase open to procreation.
This is not to say that every sexual act must produce a child. It
means that the fundamental meaning of sexuality is in its procreative
functionrather than as something done for fun or sport or entertainment.
To cast away the fundamental meaning of sexuality (as in masturbation, oral
sex, anal sex, artificial birth control, etc.) is to fall into sin. The
Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses it this way: . .
. every action which . . . proposes, whether as an end or as a
means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically
The spiritually negative emotion of hate does not necessarily mean
a passionate loathing; it can just as well be a quiet, secret desire for
harm to come upon someone or something. Hate can be a subtle thing, therefore,
and it often is experienced more unconsciously than consciously. Consequently,
it will often be very easy to deny that you feel any hatred for anyone at
Note also that hatred and anger are
theologically synonymous. Christ Himself taught the crowds, But I say
to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment
(Matthew 5:22). And Saint John the Evangelist reflected this sentiment when
he said, in one of his letters, Everyone who hates his brother is a
murderer (1 John 3:15). The theological implication of these texts,
therefore, is that any desire for harm to come to another personwhether
through active loathing or through passive resentmentis, in its spiritual
essence, an evil desire to remove the fullness of life (with its possibility
of love and forgiveness) from that person.
Narcissism, in its psychological meaning, refers to making oneself
seen and noticed; its operations are concerned entirely with the self
and its satisfactions, such that all motivation begins with the self and
returns to the self.
. . . The
root of the scopic drive [i.e., the motivation to see and be seenRLR]
is to be found entirely in the subject, in the fact that the subject sees
himself. . . . in his sexual member. . . .
Whereas making oneself seen is indicated by an arrow that really comes
back towards the subject, making oneself heard goes towards the
See Jacques Lacan,
The Partial Drive and its Circuit and From Love to the
Libido. In The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.
(New York: W. W. Norton, 1981, pp. 194195).
Therefore, in contrast
to this self-centered orientation of a narcissistic culture, Christ, Who
is the Word, makes Himself heard by compassionately calling us out
of ourselves, to listen to Him, and to follow Him. He is the good shepherd,
the gatekeeper who opens the gate, and the sheep hear his voice, as
he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out
all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they
recognize his voice (John
Those who do not understand the concepts of the unconscioussuch as
unconscious desire and unconscious angerfear the
unconscious, and so they take up the politically-correct ideology that we are
born with our desires.
See Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal
and Social Psychology, 67, 371378.
Early in the 1960s, Stanley Milgram, a professor in social
psychology at Yale University, conducted experiments about obedience to authority.
Milgram’s experiments revealed a dark side of human nature: many persons were
quite willing to obey an authority figure even if such obedience meant overriding
their conscience and consequently inflicting severe pain on someone, even to the
point of risking that person’s serious physical injury or death. Moreover, even
though the experiments were a deception (that is, the “electric shocks” that the
subjects administered to the victims were not real, and the “victims” were actually
part of the experiment, only pretending to feel pain), many of the subjects suffered
considerable disillusionment and trauma to discover that they had the capacity within
themselves—in obedience to authority and peer pressure—to inflict such agonizing
torment on another person.
This should be a spiritual wake-up call to anyone who asserts
that we can be good stewards of the Christian faith just by following our consciences
See P. Zimbardo. The Lucifer Effect. (New York: Random House,
Ibid., p. 443.
8. St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa
Theologica. I-II, 26, 4.
A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information
gathered from my websites (including this webpage) is now available at your fingertips
in book form.
Falling Families, Fallen Children by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Do
our children see a mother and a father both living in contemplative love for
God with a constant awareness of His presence and engaged in an all-out battle
with the evil of the world? More often than not our children don’t see living
faith. They don’t see protection from evil. They don’t see genuine, fruitful
devotion. They don’t see genuine love for God. Instead, they see our external
acts of devotion as meaningless because they see all the other things we do that
contradict the true faith. Thus we lose credibility—and when parents lose credibility,
children become cynical and angry and turn to the social world around them for
identity and acceptance. They are children who have more concern for social approval
than for loving God. They are fallen children. Let’s bring them back.