By Sr. M. Rosanna Emenusiobi
We are continuing with the survey of the present-day distortion of human sexuality which informs the necessity of women in raising pure teens.
2.4 Radical Feminism
Radical feminism claims to liberate women from maternity, with the emphasis that marriage and maternity are oppressive forms of disability. It then tends to “empower” women by asking them to reject motherhood and children so as to climb the ladder of success like their male counterparts. Gender ideology has the aim of changing the very nature of human sexuality. It wants to exchange sexual identity for sexual orientation and social role. This ideology definitely destroys the concept of marriage and family.
The “BIG BROTHER NAIJA (BBN) SHOW” which has been described as “immorality in our living rooms” and rightly so, is a programme that runs every year in this country. “The winner of the notorious show is expected to walk away with a whooping N25 million (twenty-five million naira) and a breath-taking car. All that is required to win this show is to be live with a bunch of fellow crazy, irresponsible people, do all sorts of immoral things, and viola, you are the winner. Next thing, you are called a celebrity, winning big advertisement contracts, and becoming the face of multinational companies.” Our teens watch this infamous and dishonourable Show, most often, without parental knowledge. Many parents, unfortunately, do not know what their children watch even in their own homes.
2.5 The Disastrous Effects of Sexual Revolution
In his commentary on The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, did a panorama of the unfortunate consequences of the sexual revolution, of which I agree with him and present here. According to him, the sexual revolution in fact was encouraged and accelerated by new scientific discoveries, especially the “pill.” The separation between the sexual act and its meaning thus became a greater possibility, for the couple themselves without their being able to see any harm to love in it, and much less the betrayal of love. The revolution has not only overwhelmed so many young people like an avalanche; it has invaded the couple’s responsible relationship and falsified their mutual self-giving. All of this has been both an occasion and an expression of a “social sickness”, which can also be called “social sin”. Sex is increasingly trivialised. In many cases, the communication media give the impression that everything is permitted and licit (it is enough to look at some television channels and listen to some hip up music). Society is more eroticised in an artificial way. Many “texts” for sex education become an apologia for even the most deviant kinds of behaviour.
The effects of this revolutionary conception have given rise to what we all know is the deadly process of “separation from what is human”: the separation of sexuality from marriage and the family; of love from life within marriage; of the unitive from the procreative dimension within the conjugal act, thereby giving great support to the campaigns in favour of abortion, contraception, and artificial family planning. The revolution as a whole, has had as its effect, deep slavery, together with the spread of spiritual confusion. Pushed onward by the euphoria of hedonism, the affluent society has offered sex for sale, sex as entertainment and as “leisure-time activity” outside the family, without a vision inspired by the good of the person but by consumerism. The mass media, pornography, and erotic telephone services have given children the emotional impetus to enter the market, where they are regarded more as the object rather than the subject of the alienating mechanisms.
Then came the dual plague of drugs and AIDS to which sex is connected like a glue and a go-between, or as an effect of dependency. Drugs are expensive, and in order to get them, big money is needed that can be obtained through prostitution and pornography. The use of drugs spreads infections and sexually transmittable diseases – including AIDS – and paradoxically this fact suggests to many “experts” not the need for temperance and self-control, but rather access to another market of “free and safe sex” where there is no true freedom or safety.
The reaction of public authorities in many countries, including Nigeria, has been to try and solve the problem by providing Policies and Bills and promoting health information in the schools which offer only precautionary measures and have been and will be ineffective outside a framework of values. In any case, the family has been shut out, and the “sex” education provided usually lacks a valid concept of sexuality. Therefore, there is the need for the family to take back its indispensable role in providing sound and valid education in moral values in general, and a sound guidance with regard to sexuality during adolescence. Unfortunately, many a time, a family fails before it is formed.
Consequently, dear reader, our teenagers born into this type of culture will believe that this is how sexual life should be. Can you see why it is important that they imbibe the right values about human sexuality?
2.6 Some Legitimate Questions
“Sexuality, which is written into the body is a dimension of the whole person. It pertains not so much to what a person can do or possess, but to what a person is. It totally involves the personality in physical, affective, and spiritual life and is necessarily reflected in social relations.” Psychologists teach that emotional immaturity can endanger a person in how he or she adapts and behaves and that it threatens the marriage bond and the ability to relations between parents and children and with the social environment. Therefore, the question is: How is a person’s sexuality written into his or her growth; into the complementary relationship between one sex and another, and in openness to self-giving? The whole society on the other hand, must ask itself what type of young person, woman and man, it wants to form for tomorrow: what is the relationship between sexuality and the person; between sexuality and the family, and if sensuality is tolerable as a mere private function of aimless pleasure without reference to the family. Obviously, it is not just a matter of only giving information to young people – which is often not exact – but of giving them values and testimonies of love. The virtue capable of giving these values and testimonies of love, and guiding the young in cultivating them is called chastity. Why is chastity so important today in the life of these young people? Why are women, especially mothers, so important in directing their teenagers aright in human sexuality and in chaste living? We shall begin to respond to these by explaining first and foremost, what chastity is all about and why it is a MUST virtue to insist on for young people.
3. CHASTITY: A FORGOTTEN VIRTUE?
I will begin by explaining words that are similar to chastity but are actually different. Abstinence is merely a “no” to illicit sex. Chastity is not just saying “NO!” to sex. Otherwise, it limits sexuality to just one’s control of the genitals. Chastity is a “yes” to something positive. Instead of taking something away, chastity has something to offer as is evident in the following pages. Chastity and other words like purity, modesty and decency are comparable in that they have the basic meaning of freedom from whatever is lewd or salacious. Yet they also differ. Since they have this basic meaning, I will use the words interchangeably.
3.1. What Chastity is …
Chastity comes from Latin, castus, meaning morally pure, unstained. Chastity is the virtue that moderates the desire for sexual pleasure according to the principles of faith and right reason. In married people, chastity moderates the desire in conformity with their state of life (faithfulness to each other); in unmarried people who wish to marry, the desire is moderated by saving sex until (or unless) they get married; and in those who resolve not to marry, the desire is sacrificed entirely. Chastity is the spiritual power (energy) which frees love from selfishness and aggression. It is a joyous affirmation of someone who knows how to live self-giving, free from any of self-centred slavery. To the degree that a person weaken chastity, his or love becomes more and more selfish, that is, satisfying a desire for pleasure and no longer self-giving. This pre-supposes that the person has learned how to accept other people, to relate with them, while respecting their human dignity. Chastity makes the personality harmonious. It matures it and fills it with inner peace. This purity of mind and body helps develop true self-respect and at the same time makes one capable of respecting others, because it makes one see in them persons to reverence, insofar as they are created in the image of God and through grace are children of God, re-created by Christ. The beauty of chastity is that it offers the truth of ‘God’s plan for human sexuality, and frees a person to give and receive authentic love.
Chastity implies an opposition to the immoral in the sense of lust or licentious. Lust leads to self-centredness. It prevents us from being able to make a gift of ourselves to others and motivates us to take from others instead. Lust deforms our vision – making us see others as objects to be used rather than people to be loved. For this reason love is impossible without purity of heart. Since chastity protects us from the self-centredness of lust, it frees us to look beyond ourselves and to love in a self-giving way. This enables us to become fully human, fully alive, and fully who God created us to be.
Chastity does not deny the goodness of our sexuality. It is not a prudish or puritanical idea – reverse is quite the case. In fact, only the chaste can realise the greatness of the gift of human sexuality and treat it with the honour it deserves. When teens begin to grasp this vision of human love, they realise that chastity is not the enemy of love, but rather its guardian. They will begin to see how chastity helps them to experience authentic love. BUT THEY MUST BE TAUGHT!
(to be continued)