Lately I have been surfing the websites of various young people I know and have found to my dismay an enormous amount of shocking vulgarity. Frequent reference is made to sexual congress and condoms. Four letter words and gestures are liberally sprinkled by both the owners of the sites and by their friends. I am surprised that young people would allow their parents and a clergyman free access to such sites. I am moved by such trust, but not to make some comment is neither in my nature nor befitting my vocation.
Do they see no contradiction between gutter language and semi-pornographic images with their Christianity? Maybe I am old fashioned, if one who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s could be considered such, but we always clearly saw the pejorative meaning of such things— even when we misbehaved ourselves or sought to shock others. Today there seems to be a pervasive moral blindness where even the vilest words are given peculiar neutrality or at least acceptance. It makes me cringe to see “nice boys and girls” casually accept the “f” word or give the finger or call girls (even themselves) by the “b” word.
Words are evocative and have meaning that matters. The “b” designation, while appropriate for a four-legged dog, is highly inappropriate for a daughter of Eve. A woman, young or old, should always be regarded with a deep-seated respect. While her body is an expression of her whole identity, she cannot be utterly defined by her bosom or genitalia. Lust masquerades as love and reduces the person to meat that one might devour as a disposable commodity. True love regards “the other” as sacred and as one with “incommensurate” value. Bodies might be wrongly regarded as interchangeable. Persons are unique and possess what might be termed as mystery or soul. The marital act has nothing in common with the (f) word other than some vague similarity in corporeal mechanics. Sexual love is a mutual self-giving and, for married Christians, a sign and seal of the covenant between Christ and his Church. Sexuality and the potency toward parenthood is not a trivial matter for purposes of recreation. It represents a profound ontological openness to God as Creator and to his divine providence. We were not made for ourselves, but for a higher purpose. How will our young people ever perceive such meanings when they have bought into a corrupted language which expresses a distorted meaning about themselves and sexuality?
What does all this mean, you might ask? I am sorely disappointed.
The same mouth that says “Amen” to our Lord’s body and blood should not be poisoned with words that mock God’s creation and his goodness. The hands that cradle the Lord of life should not type or gesture things that would please the demonic. Bodies which are expressions of their most intimate identities, should be treated with modesty and real respect. (Certain photos conflict with this truth.)
Do our young people not worry about their reputations? Are they comfortable with scandal? This saddens me more than I can say.