When trying to explain the Catholic understanding of sexuality to someone “outside”, I almost invariably find myself falling back on analogies relating to diet and gluttony. It’s a natural comparison, and while modern society has lost any sense that it’s reasonable to have any less sex if you want to have fewer children, people are able to get more righteous then ever over the point that if you want to be fit you must, must, must eat moderately and exercise more.
Indeed, diet and exercise may be the one thing relating to sexuality where modern culture understands a great deal of self denial. After all, one of the motivations for all this diet and exercise is, I think one may honestly admit, to look better while naked.
Which leaves the obvious question: Why has a Church which finds itself swimming against a quickening current in regards to its teaching on birth control nearly totally abandoned any sort of severity in regards to fasting?
Sure, we’re an “Easter people” and all that, but maybe some rigorous self denial for the sake of religion would help us with some rigorous self denial for the sake of our faith. I’ve been pretty much as bad as the next fellow on this — doing the mental calculation of whether I can make one more cup of coffee and still make the hour fast before mass or falling to the “I’ll say some extra prayers tonight as a sacrifice instead” temptation on Fridays outside of Lent when meat is all that appears on the menu. But this is, after all, part of the problem. The constant NFP lament is “Look, we played by the rules all those years before we were married. Why does there have to be frustration now too?”
If virtue is a habit, perhaps it’s time to form some more habits around denial of appetite.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 8:31 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
It seems to me that the Church, after Vatican II, relaxed the fasting and abstaining rules for Catholics because It felt that many could not fast or abstain due to the modern way of life, and therefore, possibly save their souls from being disobedient. Actually, we are still supposed to abstain from meat on Fridays as a sacrifice and penance in honor of Our Lord’s Sacrifice and Death, but if not, we must do some other penance or “good work!” But Our Lady has come to remind us of fasting and has asked us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. Those who are in-tune with Our lady’s requests try to do so and there are millions of us out there in the world trying to do what Our Lady wants!