Scenic roads that lead to nowhere

23 09 2010

This was an interesting video, but as with many things in Zizek, I don’t see where he’s going with it. The ride gives a panoramic view of things, but I wouldn’t get in the car to get anywhere with him.

Stolen from this site

Sacred vulgarity

23 09 2010

Why the Catholic Church feels it needs to be all up in your bedroom

One of the most formative moments in my theological life came when I asked a well-educated friend of mine what the Fathers of the Church would think if you handed them a little pill and told them that if a woman took this pill, she would not get pregnant no matter how much intercourse she had. Expecting either an answer of “well, they would think it’s okay” or “they would think it an abomination”, I was rather surprised by the answer that he did give. He said, “They wouldn’t think anything, because they thought that sex was disgusting”. From my readings in the subject, I had to concur. Any talk about sexual practices was probably considered off the table in any civilized discourse concerning religion. It would have been akin to discussing the theological value of one toilet habit over another.

This is what came to mind when I was reading a couple of articles by Sandro Magister (via the Western Confucian blog) regarding the use of artificial contraception in early 20th century Italy, and the employment of pastoral attitudes towards these practices. In general, prior to the publication of the encyclical, Casti Connubii, priests in northern Italy often took what would be considered a lax approach to the subject. If someone was suspected in the confessional of having committed such a sin, the confessor in the old manuals was expected not to ask prying questions. As Magister writes:

So then, one constant guideline emerges from the solutions given by the diocese of Padua to cases of morality regarding contraception: that of employing the “theory of good faith” taught by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori. According to this theory, in the presence of a penitent who is suspected of committing contraceptive actions but appears unaware of the gravity of the sin and in practice incapable of correcting his behavior, it is best to respect his silence and take his good faith into account, absolving him without posing any further questions.

The Liguorian theory was dominant for many decades, not only in the seminaries and in the care of souls, but also in the guidelines given by the Holy See in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It even appeared in the code of canon law of 1917, in force until 1983, which said at canon 888: “The priest who hears confessions should be very careful not to pose curious and useless questions, especially concerning the sixth commandment, to anyone with whom he deals, and particularly not to ask younger persons about things of which they are unaware.”
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