Sunday, March 13, 2016

Curious Poll on Infidelity

The Bear is not concerned with the fidelity of his readers. However, there seems to be an unspoken assumption that sexual desires, whether heterosexual or homosexual, either cannot be denied, or everyone has an implicit right to use their sexuality however they wish.

It occurred to the Bear that during the course of a long marriage, it is possible that even a faithful Catholic husband or wife might experience an attraction to a person other than his or her spouse. Certainly the divorce rate would suggest so. The devil is ever active.

Are we slaves to our desires and attractions, which seems to be the unspoken assumption of just about everyone, or can we, though perhaps with difficulty, say "no" to them? Or must "who we love" always win out?

Please vote. The Bear has no way of knowing who voted or not, so it is completely anonymous. Be honest. The Bear wants to know if "who we love" argument must always win, or if there are heroes who were tempted and resisted.

To see results, horizontally scroll the poll.


  1. Hell to the freakin yes!!' We have the hottest 40ish priest at my traditional parish. I just say a Hail Mary anytime some stray bad thoughts come to mind. And I am happily married to a good man. I wish he was a fat old priest but he just isn't.

    Seattle km

  2. I would differentiate between 'attraction' and 'desire', Bear. 'Desire', to my mind, inclines much more towards lust.

    1. Technically you're correct. But for the purposes of my unscientific poll, I think people will get the drift, especially in the context of questions three and four.

    2. But what then is the Bear attempting to ferret-out with this private poll and to what end? If it (as it inevitably must) is a thought provoking effort, what thoughts past and present is it likely to dredge up in the mind of the reader if not for reliving past temptations of the flesh successfully or unsuccessfully overcome?

      The recollection of past successful efforts grappling with temptation might well now prove an occasion (perhaps) of pride, while the unsuccessful efforts stir up past lustful thoughts and actions.

      The dangerous 'take-away' for any poll, even an informal non-scientific poll one, is akin to that old transactional analysis slogan, "I'm ok. You're ok."

      Sorry to parse so particularly, Bear. Old habits die hard.

    3. It is meant to demonstrate the positive mention that we are many of us tempted, and that we are able to somehow find the grace to resist temptation. The message of today is that we are helpless puppets of our temptations and "orientations." I thought it would be beneficial to see that even the best Catholics in the world, which we know make up SCB's readership, have faced down temptation and know that it is a fight that is winnable.

    4. As for dredging up, the cold ashes of some past temptation should not prove too much of a challenge. The tender ache of a lifetime's regret or wonder probably doesn't need the Bear to quicken. Anyway, a Bear runs this blog, and the woodlands have their dark places. The Bear specifically disclaims any value in his activities here, and, in fact, discourages anyone from visiting ;-) He has always admitted that this is a most disreputable ephemeris. Perhaps it is time for another Bear story!

    5. I believe that the devil keeps a hot ember or two still glowing in those cold ashes for anyone too keen to rake them over incessantly even though they have been wiped away through confession, Bear.

      Even so, we would be foolish indeed if we were insufficiently reflective of our past weaknesses and sins and thereby remain ignorant of those circumstances which occasioned our previous transgressions.

      You did make me smile, Bear, when you wrote you were trawling for input from the best Catholics in the world. Had I realized that from the outset I should have kept schtum.

      I admire your writing style immensely.

    6. That should have been "the best Catholics in the world who unaccountably make up SCB's readership" ;-)

  3. Lust is an appetite that must be constrained usually with much difficulty and failures. Frequent confession helps. For most of us lust is one of our life-long crosses that helps us get to heaven provided we persevere in resisting it.

    1. Frequent confession is the answer to nearly everything. One good idea is to never fail to ask what was going on at the moment you commit a sin you seem stuck in. You learn that these sins don't "just happen," but there are a surprisingly few associated circumstances. I was feeling stressed out. I get that way every time I'm hungry. It's when I've wasted all day on the computer (which as a computer-addict I can say messes with your mind). Although you're obviously giving some measure of consent, still, it is liberating to find that there seem to be a handful of triggers. Not every time -- sometimes we just sin for the Hell of it -- but a lot of the time. Then you can start to avoid triggers, or when you recognize a trigger you can quickly deal with it (pop 10 mg diazepam) or substitute some other enjoyable activity (pop a couple of Watsons). Or something like that. Bear mostly slept through rehab. But you get the idea.

  4. Obviously if you know your faith (or you have a pre-enlightenment understanding if the person in almost any culture in almost any religion), you'd believe that it is possible to restrain unwelcome sexual impulses.

    But the issue is deeper. I answer "No, never once attracted in the slightest to someone not my spouse." but it is only because I married late (almost 40) and trained myself for marriage for years before marriage. Ultimately I discovered on my own what many premoderns discovered, namely that it does no good to indulge in things before marriage that would be harmful after marriage and after marriage I prayed that God would transform me to the kind of person that would be the best spouse for my wife.

    But that's not the modern understanding. Moderns have lost faith in all authority and do no regard history as relevant so even the common lessons on self restraint in all major religions that spanned millennia are met with scepticism since "now we know better that the people in the past were hypocrites" and that "we're just animals, evolution told us so" and "Freud was right, repression is evil" and "you have no right to tell me what to do since I'm not hurting anyone". The problem is, each one of these objections is absurd on it's face (e.g. animals mate for procreation not pleasure, animals never kill their own young, sexual behaviour does affect other people, etc). But once again, moderns reply that "what's true for you is not true for me" and "that's just sophism, my experience says otherwise".

    We have a lot of work to do to bring the culture even to the point of classic pagans.


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