Monday, 30 July 2012

Hello Ignitum Readers

Welcome to Scotland. This is a blog written by a Catholic married woman dedicated to Catholic Single women and other Single women of good will.

If you are a Catholic Single woman or other Single woman of good will, stick around. Get a coffee. Click on various posts and labels.

Here's part of an essay called "The Brass Tacks." It explains my theological, philosophical, sexual and epistemological standpoints.

Theological Assumptions of this Blog

1.1. God is, and God is a loving God Who has a plan not just for history but for each and every one of us. God knows better than we do what is good for us and loves us better than we love ourselves. Therefore, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to pray that we are given the strength and wisdom to help His plan and not hinder it through sin and stupidity.

1.2. God wishes us to live in certain ways, and not in others. God's teachings can be found in Scripture, tradition and the human heart.

1.3. The blogger being a practising Catholic, this blog assumes that the guardian of Scripture, tradition and (in so far as She is able) the human heart is the Catholic Church. And Catholics, believes the blogger, are not supposed to stay in their comfy ghettos 24/7 but to go out into the world and hang out with people of other religions or none, finding common ground and offering the wisdom of Catholicism for acceptance or rejection in a not-annoying way.

1.4. Marriage is the natural end of the human person, BUT the tradition of the Christian Church has held that the state of virginity/celibacy, since the Incarnation, is superior to marriage because it is a sign of the Kingdom, in which there will be no marriage.
Before the Incarnation, getting married was almost always what you were supposed to do. After the Incarnation, thousands and thousands of Christians have answered a call to remain Single.

The Single Life has traditionally been a life of great honour. Amongst the Jews of first century Palestine, sexual abstinence was associated with prophecy. Single Life has taken many forms during the history of the Church.

1.5. Through original sin, creation was broken. Although the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ began the healing work and gave us reconciliation with God, the effects of the Fall persist. There is perhaps no sadder proof for the Fall than the continuing war between the sexes, which I think is unnatural and simply appalling.

Anthropological Assumptions of Blog

2.1 Almost all men and women are good and wish to do good, not evil. Nevertheless, men and women sin. Good people can worsen through sinful habits; the evil among us can be transformed by accepting the promptings of grace to repent and live according to God's will.

2.2. Men and women are different in important ways, and their biological and psychological differences are complementary, not contradictory. This means that the differences are good, not bad, and they should be respected and even cherished.

2.3 Both men and women participate equally in reason and love, however. Men and women are both in the image and likeness of God, which means that they can (A) love, even to the point of complete self-sacrifice and (B) reason.

2.4 Men and women need each other for flourishing. Even a hermit or monk, a man who has made a tremendous sacrifice in eschewing the company of women, needs to have a relationship with Our Lady, to ask the prayers of female saints and to read their works.

Meanwhile, men and women living in the world, be they Single, married, consecrated, lay or clergy, have a duty to get over any resentment regarding the opposite sex and learn to love them as brothers or sisters.

2.5 Men and women were made for themselves and for each other. The position of St. Edith Stein was that Man was made for himself and Woman for Man. The position of John Paul II was that both Man and Woman were made for themselves. My own position is that of John Paul II with his caveat that both are called to serve others. Even a hermit is bound to at least pray for others.

Sexual Assumptions of this Blog

3.1 Sexuality (eros) is a powerful force deeply rooted in the human person. It is experienced differently by men and women. Itself inherently good, it can be used for great evil.

The purposes of sexual intercourse are (1) to create a bond of mutual love and commitment between husband and wife that will help them get to heaven and (2) to continue the human race. It should be quite fun once you get used to it. It is not worth losing your soul over. It is the Vitamin C of marriage.

3.2 Premarital/extramarital sex is a serious sin that destroys friendship, not only with God, but with other human beings. Sex is a powerful force that our age has set up as a rival to God. (Quite literally, in fact. Freud seemed to think that sex, not God, was at the bottom of everything.) Recognizing the life-giving but also incredibly destructive force of sexuality, all human societies--sometimes with a ear to God's will--have always surrounded it with boundaries, both helpful and unhelpful. Reducing women to chattel or sub-humans and demonizing our sexuality is not helpful. Hatred for men and women who experience same-sex sexual attractions is likewise not helpful.

The assumption of this blog is that sexual relations are spiritually, psychologically and even socially dangerous unless between a man and a woman pledged in matrimony.

It assumes the the teachings of the Catholic Church on the subject of sexuality are true.

It warns that passionate kissing, which has been celebrated lovingly in stage, song, and Archie comics as a harmless past-time, should be avoided between those who are not engaged to be married. Any kind of physical sexual activity can lead to premature and illusory feelings of committed love. In short, it makes us harder to be reasonable, and this being also a Thomist blog, that gives this blog kittens.

3.3 Permanent virginity is superior to marriage, for it is a sign of the Kingdom. Temporary virginity is a very good thing for it is a sign of obedience to God's will concerning sexuality. It is also a defense against sexual sin. Virginity can only be lost through an act of the will, ruled St. Augustine. Destruction of the hymen, through violence, sports, dancing or whatever, does not make a woman a non-virgin. Homosexual rape does not make a man a non-virgin. (This last bit is not St. Augustine, but I'm sure he would agree although he did think that homosexual rape was the absolute worst thing that could happen to a man, short of damnation.)

3.4 It is the opinion of this blog that any man who commits self-abuse has no business judging women they believe, for any reason, to be sexual sinners. Everyone is a sinner, and just about everybody is a sexual sinner in some way. Most of us have times when we really have to work at being chaste, and when we fall, we have to get up again, say sorry, and strive to do better.

3.5. It is the opinion of this blog that staying chaste is a greater challenge for men than it is for women, although western society has been doing its damnedest to make it extremely hard for women, too.

Epistemological Assumptions of this Blog

4.1 Human beings come to knowledge through experiencing, understanding (the answer to "What is it?") and judging (the answer to "Is that really so?").

4.2 Human beings are often in a flight from understanding, usually because we are frightened of reality. We ought to get ALL the necessary data before we make judgements about anything.

4.3. It is better to be rooted in reality than to live in a dream world or to cower in an isolated corner.

4.4. In the blogger's experience, women have a much more difficult time remaining rooted in reality when it comes to romance, the opposite sex, etc., than men do. Women marry men they don't really love (and sometimes don't like) all the time, denying their feelings and hoping desperately that it will all turn out okay. Men, however, tend to put their ears right back and don't get married unless they really, really want to or are hiding a homosexual orientation or are gold-diggers. On the other hand, many Single men seem to get irrationally angry about their state. Hmm.

As for me, I have an M.Div. and an M.A. in Eng Lit and, like other laypeople, absolutely no teaching authority whatsoever.


Anna Williams said...

I'm a writer for Ignitum Today and a big fan of yours! Just wanted to point out that the blog post title ("Hello Ignatium Readers") here has an extra "i" in Ignitum that should not be there. That is all. Keep the good blog posts coming.

Summer said...

Please elaborate on God's plan for our lives. For example, if a person is starving under a dictatorship like North Korea's, is God allowing his plan to be twisted by the free will of humans? Or is this God's plan for that person - although it appears horrible to us, perhaps that person will go directly to heaven?

Sinéad said...

I should be blowdrying my hair at this early hour but I can't stop thinking about Summer's comment.
In part because it sounds like questions demanded of me by annoyed atheists, but because it's important to be charitable I'll give my own opinion, even though you asked for Seraphic's view.

Nobody is born to be miserable and starve, we don't have a food supply problem we have a food distribution problem, as well as an arms supply problem. I'm sure if the the will of of the people, worldwide, wanted to overthrow that dictatorship (or any) then it could. I'll be mean and state that if it had a large supply of oil and/or an actual atomic bomb then it would have been overthrown years ago. Jesus loves us tenderly and we're supposed to step up and love one another tenderly too, it's called the spiritual works of mercy. I don't have an M. Div but I can't see how we can't use that free will for good so anyone (not necessarily you Summer) blaming God for that person starving needs to look closer to home than heaven.

I want to apologise Summer if I have come across as cantankerous in my reply to your post. When I saw what appeared to be a typical atheist challenge to Seraphic so closely after she has been insulted on another blog I just felt I had to write a quick reply myself. If you are asking a genuine question then I'm sorry for the grumpiness. Also, God's plan is for us to know Him, serve Him and love Him in this world and be with Him forever in the next. Take care of the former and the latter will be grand, easier said and done mind you. :-)


Seraphic said...

Thanks, Anna! All fixed. (You can see I think more about St. Ignatius than about fire!)

Summer, I cannot elaborate on God's plan for the life of a North Korean any more than I can elaborate on His plan for you, because I simply do not (and cannot and possibly should not) know the details. But I do believe that He has a plan for every one of us and all of us collectively and that, as Julian of Norwich envisioned, "all shall be well."

Summer said...

Sinead, I think you misunderstood my question. I am not attacking anyone or their beliefs- I am a practicing Catholic. And I am 41, which likely gives me a different perspective than many readers.

I think the philosophy of God's plan for individuals involves careful thought and consideration. There are many elements to consider. I have been on the receiving end of some rather flippant comments and unsurprisingly, it's from people whose lives have worked out pretty well.

Seriously, there are people who tell you when a loved one has died (even a child!), that it is God's plan. Not helpful at all and such attitudes have driven people from God rather than to Him.

My belief it that it is all a mystery. My intention was only to ask for detail to see if I can understand where Seraphic is coming from.

Rae said...

I don't have any letters after my name, but I thought I'd add my two cents - for the benefit of another reader if for no one else.
I do believe that God has a plan for each of us. I don't know how detailed that plan is, but I believe there is a task for each to do, if we can just think of what it is. I remember reading somewhere (I think it was something to do with St. Frances de Sales, but I'm really not sure) that we need to remember that sickness, suffering, and death were NOT part of the original plan - they are effects of the fall. However, with the crucifixion and resurrection, those things are now tools towards our salvation. I believe that out of every evil, God brings some good, however small.

Miss Doyle said...

Summer I think that one analogy can be useful:
We only see the knots behind a vast tapestry, while God is weaving the picture.
In short, no matter what we are asked to bear in life (big or small, dictatorship or the death of a child) we can sanctify it and by that, be saints.
That's all that matters after all.
The rest is unnecessary detail to worry about.