Thursday, February 13, 2014

Was St. Francis de Sales Ephebiphobic?

I am reading one of the best books I have ever read: The Fulfillment of All Desire by Dr. Ralph Martin.

Dr. Martin also wrote the much-needed Will Many Be Saved?, which reintroduced Hell to the post-Vatican II Church. (You may remember that Fr. Robert Barron -- the Carl Sagan of Catholicism -- didn't care much for the idea of scaring folks with a populated Hell, and made unfavorable remarks about Dr. Martin's book. That, in turn, caused Michael Voris to defend the dogma of Hell, causing Mark Shea to flip out on Michael Voris for attacking such a wonderful guy as Fr. Barron, which, of course, Voris never did. This recap is not gratuitous; I think it's useful to remember who stands for what.)

And my autocorrect insists on turning "Voris" into "Virus" so if I miss one, it does not mean I've canceled my premium membership to Church Militant TV. (By the way, I got in trouble for using the phrase "Christian soldier" in connection with Confirmation at RCIA because it was "too militaristic." Poor old Bear, just put a muzzle on him and have him ride a unicycle.)

While Dr. Martin still takes Hell seriously, this book finds the common thread in seven doctors of the Church's writings on attaining union with God. It is a tour de force and I cannot recommend it enough.

One of the saints is Francis de Sales. I read Introduction to the Devout Life a long time ago, and I was evidently not ready for it to leave much of an impression on me. I am looking forward to revisiting him.

His father married a 14 year-old girl. He did his son Francis the favor of arranging a match with a 14 year-old girl, too! Francis declined and went on to better things.

Of course, now, that would be illegal even in Arkansas. And I think that's a good thing. But there's no reason that should stand forever. People shouldn't be discriminated against no matter who they love, right? Does anyone else find it ironic that today we would condemn a good marriage with a 14 year old girl, but we bombard our own kids with sex 24 hours a day, put devices capable of making child pornography into their little hands, and instruct them only in immorality?

If you want to argue against the February-September marriage...

You can't argue the yuck factor.

You can't appeal to past norms.

You can't cite religious beliefs.

You must respect the self-determination of the young adult.

We're one hit sitcom about a winsome child bride and her 50 year-old doting husband away from Lolitapocolypse. But you don't want to be accused ephebiphobia, do you? (Ephebiphobia is the fear of youth, as if the actual definition matters.) 


  1. Hehe 'Lolitapocalypse'. I hope there aren't any Japanese people reading your blog, or that just might become the title of an anime.

    1. I can see it now: Project A-ko: The Lolitapocolypse. I'm happy to see you again after the Bear's disgraceful episode in graduate school.

  2. You followed that Barron-Voris-Shea business? Shea is often so unclear in what he means. Really. He's too shrieky. He's awfully judgmental, I think. (Yep, I said that.) I could not follow what he was saying.

    Your story about the old man and young girl calls to mind a recent experience at a business social function. Some Catholics were present including myself. I hope their silence meant what mine meant. Huh? Speechless...?

    A man talking (not a speech; small talk) at the lunch table was a homosexual, divorced with sons in early 20s. (He had to find a religion that accepted him as he was, you know.) He is in a "relationship" with a young adult male. I can't help but wonder-how does this young man's family feel not only about their boy living a homosexual life, but doing so with a man about old enough to be his father? This man at my table said he and the, er, partner discussed adopting children. The older man is of course on the cusp of being a grandfather, with his eldest son married and is not very interested in children. He talked as if this were normal, ie, like a young woman in her first marriage to an older divorced/widowed man who's already done the kids thing. But the young man would miss out on having a family if they didn't to the kid thing. That was when I wanted to shout out perhaps he should do like other young men and find a nice girl to marry and have a family with her. I guess that's too logical. So, maybe they could adopt an older child the man thought. Oh, my! I think. No mother for a child in that house.

    The homosexual could not see how, on so many levels, that relationship and bringing children into it does not work and makes no sense. The homosexual at the table seemed consistent with the abuse by priests of teen boys, attracted to youth. Predatory.

    God help those lost souls. I hope the younger man is brought to his senses and can have a chance at a wholesome family or at least a chaste life.

  3. This is why the Bear goes nowhere and talks to nobody. I deal with, as I have mentioned, a lot of sex cases, but they're in the context of criminal proceedings. To experience sexual perversion in an ordinary social setting would be too much for a poor old Bear, I'm afraid. My mate was upset by the Valentine's Day cards with two male "restroom" figures on it. At least that's accurate in so many ways.

    Shea and Fr. Barron were just wrong on that and Dr. Martin and M.V. were right, at least if we're talking about what the Church's teaching is and always has been, including Jesus. The texture of the CAF and Patheos forums is troubling to me. Fr. Z has a full time job following the Bishop of Rome around with a bucket and mop yelling "RAH! RAH!" Even Voris is strangely silent on our "Who am I to judge?" Pope. I think you're on the money on your blog with Americanism, except if only that's all it was. The Church is suffering from a full blown case of Modernism. It's quite invigorating!

    1. I feel badly for Michael Voris and Fr. Z wrt the antics and utterances of the Holy Father. They find themselves in a rather delicate position. As influential voices in the conservative Catholic blogosphere, they could be looking at reluctant mutiny in the ranks if they were to “go rogue” and start being openly critical of Pope Francis. It’s one thing for this to predictably thrill enemies of the Church, who would gleefully portray Voris and Z as inciting disrespect toward the See of Peter and Catholic teaching on the authority of same. More serious would be the possibility of creating a panicky feeling among supporters, a substantial number of whose comfort level might not be able to handle it. (We're a highly-strung group at the best of times :-)

      As for me, I'm grateful not to be a media figure. I don't need to worry about being cheesed off at the Holy Father right now.

      Btw, will be heading off for a visit with family tomorrow, and won’t get to spend much time online for a while. Please keep patrolling the Bavarian Woods to keep them verdant and vibrant -- ok? (That means I do not want to return to a landscape transformed by the "delete" button.) May God bless all who enter here in a spirit of goodwill!

    2. That's the reason for conservative Catholic microblogs like SCB. We don't owe nobody nothin' and, besides, the Bear is anonymous! (Although rather thinly disguised; my email has a signature contains my blog's URL, so now my priest can read everything I write.) You will be missed. The Pope's latest comments finally caused me to understand what's up with Francis. We're so hung up on liberal vs. conservative, we've missed that, in the case of Francis, it is more Protestant vs. Catholic. No, not that he is a Protestant, but his sensibilities seem to lie that way. That actually makes me feel better, since I prefer conservative Protestants to liberal Catholics. I explain it all, but there has been a conspiracy of family members to keep the truth from getting out! 😉:-) And I seem to have lost my avatar... Oh bother.

  4. Jane,

    Travel safely. Enjoy yourself. Look forward to your return.


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