Amoris Laetitia 284: Two Levels of Reality

amoris laetitia memeErich Fromm enters the discussion today:

284. Young people should not be deceived into confusing two levels of reality: “sexual attraction creates, for the moment, the illusion of union, yet, without love, this ‘union’ leaves strangers as far apart as they were before”.(Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving, New York, 1956, p. 54) The language of the body calls for a patient apprenticeship in learning to interpret and channel desires in view of authentic self-giving. When we presume to give everything all at once, it may well be that we give nothing. It is one thing to understand how fragile and bewildered young people can be, but another thing entirely to encourage them to prolong their immaturity in the way they show love. But who speaks of these things today? Who is capable of taking young people seriously? Who helps them to prepare seriously for a great and generous love? Where sex education is concerned, much is at stake.

Good questions, these. Do we take young people seriously? Meh, we can’t do it in most non-sexual issues.

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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Amoris Laetitia 283: On Safe Sex

amoris laetitia memePope Francis is critical of the notion of safe sex. I suspect this is less a matter of dangerous sexual contact and more one of a regard for the possibility of people having a mature wait for a marital commitment:

283. Frequently, sex education deals primarily with “protection” through the practice of “safe sex”. Such expressions convey a negative attitude towards the natural procreative finality of sexuality, as if an eventual child were an enemy to be protected against. This way of thinking promotes narcissism and aggressivity in place of
acceptance. It is always irresponsible to invite adolescents to toy with their bodies and their desires, as if they possessed the maturity, values, mutual commitment and goals proper to marriage. They end up being blithely encouraged to use other persons as an means of fulfilling their needs or limitations. The important thing is to teach them sensitivity to different expressions of love, mutual concern and care, loving respect and deeply meaningful communication. All of these prepare them for an integral and generous gift of self that will be expressed, following a public commitment, in the gift of their bodies. Sexual union in marriage will thus appear as a sign of an all-inclusive commitment, enriched by everything that has preceded it.

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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Amoris Laetitia 281-282: On Age-Appropriateness and Modesty

amoris laetitia memeThe Church’s ideas on sex education include age-appropriateness:

281. Sex education should provide information while keeping in mind that children and young people have not yet attained full maturity. The information has to come at a proper time and in a way suited to their age. It is not helpful to overwhelm them with data without also helping them to develop a critical sense in dealing with the onslaught of new ideas and suggestions, the flood of pornography and the overload of stimuli that
can deform sexuality. Young people need to realize that they are bombarded by messages that are not beneficial for their growth towards maturity. They should be helped to recognize and to seek out positive influences, while shunning the things that cripple their capacity for love. We also have to realize that “a new and more appropriate language” is needed “in introducing children and adolescents to the topic of sexuality”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 56)

The synod bishops seek a new approach. Is ToB part of that? Are there better efforts out there?

Let’s go with two sections today, okay? Pope Francis on modesty:

282. A sexual education that fosters a healthy sense of modesty has immense value, however much some people nowadays consider modesty a relic of a bygone era. Modesty is a natural means whereby we defend our personal privacy and prevent ourselves from being turned into objects to be used. Without a sense of modesty, affection and sexuality can be reduced to an obsession with genitality and unhealthy behaviors that distort our capacity for love, and with forms of sexual violence that lead to inhuman treatment or cause hurt to others.

Comments?

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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Amoris Laetitia 280: Sex Education

amoris laetitia memeWhat about a controversial topic? Let’s talk about sex:

280. The Second Vatican Council spoke of the need for “a positive and prudent sex education” to be imparted to children and adolescents “as they grow older”, with “due weight being given to the advances in the psychological, pedogogical and didactic sciences”.(Gravissimum Educationis 1)

The document cited is Vatican II. But many Catholics equate knowledge with too much potential for abuse. Pope Francis advocates self-knowledge plus self-control. What do you make of that?

We may well ask ourselves if our educational institutions have taken up this challenge. It is not easy to approach the issue of sex education in an age when sexuality tends to be trivialized and impoverished. It can only be seen within the broader framework of an education for love, for mutual self-giving. In such a way, the language of sexuality would not be sadly impoverished but illuminated and enriched. The sexual urge can be directed through a process of growth in self-knowledge and self-control capable of nurturing valuable capacities for joy and for loving encounter.

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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Amoris Laetitia 279: Children In A Wider Community

amoris laetitia memeThe home is a prime place for socialization and formation as a believer, but children have other possibilities to explore:

279. Nor is it good for parents to be domineering. When children are made to feel that only their parents can be trusted, this hinders an adequate process of socialization and growth in affective maturity.

Parishes, especially in how they provide sacramental formation:

To help expand the parental relationship to broader realities, “Christian communities are called to offer support to the educational mission of families”,(Catechesis (20 May 2015)) particularly through the catechesis associated with Christian initiation. To foster an integral education, we need to “renew the covenant between the family and the Christian community”.(Catechesis (9 September 2015))

The synod bishops thought well of schools:

The Synod wanted to emphasize the importance of Catholic schools which “play a vital role in assisting parents in their duty to raise their children… Catholic schools should be encouraged in their mission to help pupils grow into mature adults who can view the world with the love of Jesus and who can understand life as a call to serve God”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 68) For this reason, “the Church strongly affirms her freedom to set forth her teaching and the right of conscientious objection on the part of educators”.(Ibid., 58)

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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Amoris Laetitia 278: On Social Media

amoris laetitia memeToday, children and social media: what helps and what hurts?

278. The educational process that occurs between parents and children can be helped or hindered by the increasing sophistication of the communications and entertainment media.

Facilitating communication:

When well used, these media can be helpful for connecting family members who live apart from one another. Frequent contacts help to overcome difficulties.(Cf. Relatio Finalis 2015, 67)

Consider how technology presents an obstacle to real dialogue:

Still, it is clear that these media cannot replace the need for more personal and direct dialogue, which requires physical presence or at least hearing the voice of the other person. We know that sometimes they can keep people apart rather than together, as when at dinnertime everyone is surfing on a mobile phone, or when one spouse falls asleep waiting for the other who spends hours playing with an electronic device. This is also something that families have to discuss and resolve in ways which encourage interaction without imposing unrealistic prohibitions. In any event, we cannot ignore the risks that these new forms of communication pose for children and adolescents; at times they can foster apathy and disconnect from the real world. This “technological disconnect” exposes them more easily to manipulation by those who would invade their private space with selfish interests.

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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Amoris Laetitia 277: Communion, Fruitfulness, Sensitivity

amoris laetitia memeThoughts from two of Pope Francis’ 2015 addresses. First, an awareness about consumption, greed, and stewardship:

277. In the family too, we can rethink our habits of consumption and join in caring for the environment as our common home. “The family is the principal agent of an integral ecology, because it is the primary social subject which contains within it the two fundamental principles of human civilization on earth: the principle of communion and the principle of fruitfulness”.(Catechesis (30 September 2015))

Helping children develop sensitivity to human weakness and limitation:

In the same way, times of difficulty and trouble in the lives of family life can teach important lessons. This happens, for example, when illness strikes, since “in the face of illness, even in families, difficulties arise due to human weakness. But in general, times of illness enable family bonds to grow stronger… An education that fails to encourage sensitivity to human illness makes the heart grow cold; it makes young people ‘anesthetized’ to the suffering of others, incapable of facing suffering and of living the experience of limitation”.(Catechesis (10 June 2015))

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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