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"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Theology of the Body: 20. Analysis of Knowledge and of Procreation

In his General Audience of 5 March 1980, the Holy Father continued his series on the Theology of the Body, by examining the meaning of the biblical statement that "Adam knew Eve his wife" (Gn 4:1-2).



Analysis of Knowledge and of Procreation

At the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall on 5 March, the Holy Father gave the following address.


1. To the ensemble of our analyses, dedicated to the biblical "beginning", we wish to add another short passage, taken from chapter IV of the Book of Genesis. For this purpose, however, we must refer first of all to the words spoken by Jesus Christ in the talk with the Pharisees (cf. Mt 19 and Mk 10), (1) in the compass of which our reflections take place. They concern the context of human existence, according to which death and the destruction of the body connected with it have become the common fate of man (according to the words, "to dust you shall return" of Gn 3:19). Christ referred to "the beginning," to the original dimension of the mystery of creation, when this dimension had already been shattered by the mysterium iniquitatis, that is, by sin and, together with it, by death, mysterium mortis.

Sin and death entered man's history, in a way, through the very heart of that unity which, from the beginning, was formed by man and woman, created and called to become "one flesh" (Gn 2:24). Already at the beginning of our meditations we saw that in referring to "the beginning," Christ leads us, in a certain way, beyond the limit of man's hereditary sinfulness to his original innocence. In this way he enables us to find the continuity and the connection existing between these two situations. By means of them, the drama of the origins was produced, as well as the revelation of the mystery of man to historical man.

This authorizes us to pass, after the analyses concerning the state of original innocence, to the last of them, that is, to the analysis of "knowledge and of procreation." Thematically, it is closely bound up with the blessing of fertility, which is inserted in the first narrative of man's creation as male and female (cf. Gn 1:27-28). Historically, on the other hand, it is already inserted in that horizon of sin and death. As Genesis teaches (cf. Gn 3), this has weighed on the consciousness of the meaning of the human body, together with the breaking of the first covenant with the Creator.

Union defined as knowledge

2. In Genesis 4, and therefore still within the scope of the Yahwist text, we read: "Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, 'I have begotten a man with the help of the Lord.' And again, she bore his brother Abel" (Gn 4:1-2). If we connect with knowledge that first fact of the birth of a man on earth, we do so on the basis of the literal translation of the text. According to it, the conjugal union is defined as knowledge. "Adam knew Eve his wife," which is a translation of the Semitic term jadac.(2)

We can see in this a sign of the poverty of the archaic language, which lacked varied expressions to define differentiated facts. Nevertheless, it is significant that the situation in which husband and wife unite so closely as to become one flesh has been defined as knowledge. In this way, from the very poverty of the language a specific depth of meaning seems to emerge. It derives precisely from all the meanings hitherto analyzed.

Becoming one

3. Evidently, this is also important as regards the "archetype" of our way of conceiving corporeal man, his masculinity and his femininity, and therefore his sex. In this way, through the term knowledge used in Genesis 4:1-2 and often in the Bible, the conjugal relationship of man and woman—that they become, through the duality of sex, "one flesh"—was raised and introduced into the specific dimension of persons. Genesis 4:1-2 speaks only of knowledge of the woman by the man, as if to stress above all the activity of the latter. It is also possible, however, to speak of the reciprocity of this knowledge, in which man and woman participate by means of their body and their sex. Let us add that a series of subsequent biblical texts, as, moreover, the same chapter of Genesis (cf. Gn 4:17, 4:25), speak with the same language. This goes up to the words Mary of Nazareth spoke in the annunciation: "How shall this be, since I know not man?" (Lk 1:34).

Deepest reality

4. That biblical "knew" appears for the first time in Genesis 4:1-2. With it, we find ourselves in the presence of both the direct expression of human intentionality (because it is characteristic of knowledge), and of the whole reality of conjugal life and union. In it, man and woman become "one flesh."

Even though due to the poverty of the language, in speaking here of knowledge, the Bible indicates the deepest essence of the reality of married life. This essence appears as an element and at the same time a result of those meanings, the trace of which we have been trying to follow from the beginning of our study. It is part of the awareness of the meaning of one's own body. In Genesis 4:1, becoming "one flesh," the man and the woman experience in a particular way the meaning of their body. In this way, together they become almost the one subject of that act and that experience, while remaining, in this unity, two really different subjects. In a way, this authorizes the statement that "the husband knows his wife" or that both "know" each other. Then they reveal themselves to each other, with that specific depth of their own human self. Precisely this self is revealed also by means of their sex, their masculinity and femininity. Then, in a unique way, the woman "is given" to the man to be known, and he to her.

Uniqueness of person

5. To maintain continuity with regard to the analyses made up to the present (especially the last ones, which interpret man in the dimension of a gift), it should be pointed out that, according to Genesis, datum and donum are equivalent.

However, Genesis 4:1-2 stresses datum above all. In conjugal knowledge, the woman is given to the man and he to her, since the body and sex directly enter the structure and the content of this knowledge. In this way, the reality of the conjugal union, in which the man and the woman become one flesh, contains a new and, in a way, definitive discovery of the meaning of the human body in its masculinity and femininity. But in connection with this discovery, is it right to speak only of "sexual life together"? We must consider that each of them, man and woman, is not just a passive object, defined by his or her own body and sex, and in this way determined "by nature." On the contrary, because they are a man and a woman, each of them is "given" to the other as a unique and unrepeatable subject, as "self," as a person.

Sex decides not only the somatic individuality of man, but defines at the same time his personal identity and concreteness. Precisely in this personal identity and concreteness, as an unrepeatable female-male "self," man is "known" when the words of Genesis 2:24 come true: "A man...cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The knowledge which Genesis 4:1-2 and all the following biblical texts speak of, arrives at the deepest roots of this identity and concreteness, which man and woman owe to their sex. This concreteness means both the uniqueness and the unrepeatability of the person.

It was worthwhile, therefore, to reflect on the eloquence of the biblical text quoted and of the word "knew." In spite of the apparent lack of terminological precision, it allows us to dwell on the depth and dimension of a concept, of which our contemporary language, precise though it is, often deprives us.

NOTES

1) The fact must be kept in mind that in the talk with the Pharisees (Mt 19:7-9; Mk 10:4-6), Christ took a position with regard to the practice of the Mosaic law concerning the so-called "certificate of divorce." The words, "for your hardness of heart," spoken by Christ, reflect not only "the history of hearts," but also the whole complexity of the positive law of the Old Testament, which always sought a "human compromise" in this delicate field.

2) "To know" (jadac) in biblical language does not mean only a purely intellectual knowledge, but also concrete knowledge, such as the experience of suffering (cf. Is 53:3), of sin (Wis 3:13), of war and peace (Jgs 3:1; Is 59:8). From this experience moral judgment also springs: "knowledge of good and evil" (Gn 2:9-17).

Knowledge enters the field of interpersonal relations when it regards family solidarity (Dt 33:9) and especially conjugal relations. Precisely in reference to the conjugal act, the term stresses the paternity of illustrious characters and the origin of their offspring (cf. Gn 4:1, 25; 4:17; 1 Sm 1:19), as valid data for genealogy, to which the tradition of priests (hereditary in Israel) attached great importance.

However, "knowledge" could also mean all other sexual relations, even illicit ones (cf. Nm 31:17; Gn 19:5; Jgs 19:22).

In the negative form, the verb denotes abstention from sexual relations. especially if it is a question of virgins (cf. for example, 1 Kgs 2:4; Jgs 11:39). In this field, the New Testament uses two Hebraisms, speaking of Joseph (Mt 1:25) and of Mary (Lk 1:34).The aspect of the existential relationship of "knowledge" takes on a special meaning when its subject or object is God himself (for example, Ps 139; Jer 31:34; Hos 2:22; and also Jn 14:7-9; 17:3).

King Tut Update. (Sorry it has taken so long.)

Study: King Tut slain by sword in knee
Deadly infection found in wound, experts say --ANSA, Italy

Tutankhamun was killed by a sword blow to the knee, Italian experts claim .

Two doctors from Bolzano University, longtime researchers into Italy's famed Iceman, were part of an international team that recently took another look at Egypt's most famous mummy .

The group found traces of gold leaf bearing animal symbols in the late pharaoah's right kneecap, leading them to surmise that it had fallen off Tutankhamun's raiments and lodged in a hole during mummification .

The hole in question appears to have been caused by a sword, they say .

Experts have so far been baffled by King Tut's cause of death, since his remains are in such great shape .

The new research has thrown up the hypothesis that the sword blow led to a fatal infection .

The new findings have yet to be made public because Egypt's archaeological chief Zahi Hawass is awaiting a final report, an Italian newspaper reported on Thursday .

The two Italian researchers, Eduard Egarter and Paul Gostner, have conducted several studies into Italy's 5,000-year-old Iceman mummy .

Among other things they discovered that he, too, was killed by a weapon .

Egarter and Gostner spotted an arrow-head fragment in one of the Iceman's shoulders, embarrassing Austrian scientists who had the mummy for several years and concluded he died of exposure after getting lost in the mountains .

Fyodor's Headlinks.

Christian sex-toys website thriving
'No negative feedback so far ... we've had a lot of orders from vicars themselves' --United Press International


(Anglican) Archbishop of Sydney: Homosexuality a sin
'If we do not stand here we will not be able to stand anywhere' --Australian Associated Press

Nazis Among Us Update.

NAACP chairman compares GOP to Nazis
Bond delivers blistering partisan speech in North Carolina
--WND


Venezuela expels U.S. naval attache as 'spy'
Rumsfeld: '[Chavez] is a person who was elected legally, just as Adolf Hitler' --BBC News

From The My Idiot Italian Cousins Department:

Judge suspended over crucifix row
Says Christian symbol on wall discriminates against defendants of other faiths --Reuters


AN Italian judge has been suspended for refusing to work in courtrooms adorned with a crucifix - the latest twist in a Europe-wide clash between secularists and those who want to assert the continent's Christian traditions.

Luigi Tosti has refused to preside since May after authorities said he must not remove the crucifix from his courtroom wall.

The judge said the Christian symbol discriminated against defendants of other faiths or of none.

"I have a sacrosanct right not to work with a crucifix above my head," 57-year-old Mr Tosti said.

Italian authorities disagree. Mr Tosti was given a seven-month suspended jail sentence in December for refusing to carry out his public duty, and yesterday he was suspended without pay by the professional body that governs Italy's judiciary.

Laws passed under fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in the 1920s decree Italian schools and courtrooms must display the cross.

Ahhh...So you see, kiddies, Catholicism is fascism. How predictably the rebellion-infected soul falls into sin.

Since Italy dropped Catholicism as the state religion under a new accord with the Vatican in 1984 the law has not been strictly enforced in schools, but Italian judges still preside under a crucifix on the courtroom wall.
Mr Tosti, a religious sceptic who says he has "sympathies" for Judaism, decided to test the law by asking to put a menorah, the symbolic Jewish candelabrum, next to the crucifix, but he was told no.

You know its's getting stupid when the morons drag the Jews into it.

"From the moment you ban one religious symbol and allow another, that's discrimination. It's like saying blacks and Jews have to sit outside," Mr Tosti said.

What exactly symbolizes the color black, Citizen Tosti? Or are you talking about racist cultural icons like Shaft?

He also refused a proposal to operate in a separate courtroom where there would be no cross, saying it would "ghettoise" him.

Again with the poor Jews...but perhaps Judge Tosti does not know how the word "ghetto" originated.

From The Gaining More Empathy For The Pissed-Off Moslems By The Minute Department:

In 'Will & Grace' episode, network to mock Crucifixion; Britney Spears's 'Will & Grace' role: host of Christian cooking show, 'Cruci-fixin's'
--WND

When NBC's "Will & Grace" show is used just before Good Friday to mock the Crucifixion, the vehicle is a fictional TV network called Out TV, which is purchased by a fictional Christian TV network...

The Book of Daniel was whacked in...what? three episodes? And yet this organ of sodomite propaganda has survived for eight years? Are the "conservative" Christians afraid of Big Sodomy? Or is the myth of sodomite buying power being swallowed whole by Big Marketing? Or is Hollyweird just a giant nest of perverts who will do anything in their power to corrupt souls?

I'll take D: All of the above.

...NBC and "Will & Grace" are under fire from the American Family Association and other Christian activists for its plan to use Britney Spears as a guest star playing a conservative who hosts on the fictional Christian TV network a cooking segment called "Cruci-fixin's."

Another pair of no-talent, artificial balloon breasts jumps the shark. I have $20 that says she'll be in Playboy by the end of the decade.

The pop star will appear as a sidekick to the regular character Jack, who hosts his own talk show on the fictional homosexual network Out TV, which is bought by a Christian TV network. The episode will air April 13, just before Good Friday, as NBC seems determined to stir controversy about the show. "Will & Grace" is in its eighth and final season on the network.

Patriot Act extended 5 hours; Democrasses get tough on our enemies.

At least they could have extended it for 24 so Jack Bauer can find that pesky nerve gas...

Senate votes 95-1 to continue current law, give negotiators more time to reach deal --Associated Press

Religion of Peace and Love Update (Part Deux.)

This Eminent Domain thingee is way out of hand...

Hamas demands return of Seville, Spain
Group's website for kids calls for recovery of 'lost paradise' of Al Andalus
--Spain Herald


Van Gogh murderer: Prophet justifies my deed
'When you compare me to Osama bin Laden, you are ... giving me too much honor' --NIS News Bulletin, Netherlands

Don't let him out or there could be a lot of dead cartoonists in your streets.

The Theology of the Body: 19. Man Enters the World as a Subject of Truth and Love

In his General Audience of 20 February 1980, the Holy Father continued his series on the Theology of the Body. Created in the image of God, man (Adam and Eve) entered the world as a primordial sacrament, a sign to the visible world of the invisible mystery hidden in God, the mystery of truth and love, the mystery of divine life, in which man really participates.



Man Enters the World as a Subject of Truth and Love

On 20 February the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Book of Genesis in the Paul VI Hall. The text of his address was as follows.


1. Genesis points out that man and woman were created for marriage: "A man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Gn 2:24). This opens the great creative perspective of human existence, which is always renewed by means of procreation, which is self-reproduction. This perspective is rooted in the consciousness of mankind and also in the particular understanding of the nuptial meaning of the body, with its masculinity and femininity. In the mystery of creation, man and woman are a mutual gift. Original innocence manifests and at the same time determines the perfect ethos of the gift.

We spoke about that at the preceding meeting. Through the ethos of the gift the problem of the "subjectivity" of man, who is a subject made in the image and likeness of God, is partly outlined. In the narrative of creation (especially in Gn 2:23-25) the woman is certainly not merely an object for the man. They both remain in front of each other in all the fullness of their objectivity as creatures, as "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh," as male and female, both naked. Only the nakedness that makes woman an object for man, or vice versa, is a source of shame. The fact that they were not ashamed means that the woman was not an "object" for the man nor he for her.

Interior innocence as purity of heart made it impossible somehow for one to be reduced by the other to the level of a mere object. The fact that they were not ashamed means that they were united by awareness of the gift. They were mutually conscious of the nuptial meaning of their bodies, in which the freedom of the gift is expressed and all the interior riches of the person as subject are manifested.

This mutual interpenetration of the "self" of the human persons, of the man and of the woman, seems to exclude subjectively any reduction to an object. This reveals the subjective profile of that love. It can be said that this love "is objective" to the depths, since it is nourished by the mutual "objectivity" of the gift.

2. After original sin, man and woman will lose the grace of original innocence. The discovery of the nuptial meaning of the body will cease to be for them a simple reality of revelation and grace. However, this meaning will remain as a commitment given to man by the ethos of the gift, inscribed in the depths of the human heart, as a distant echo of original innocence. From that nuptial meaning human love in its interior truth and its subjective authenticity will be formed. And man—also through the veil of shame—will continually rediscover himself as the guardian of the mystery of the subject, that is, of the freedom of the gift, so as to defend it from any reduction to the position of a mere object.

3. For the present, however, we are before the threshold of man's earthly history. The man and the woman have not yet crossed it toward knowledge of good and evil. They are immersed in the mystery of creation. The depth of this mystery hidden in their hearts is innocence, grace, love and justice: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Gn 1:31).

Man appears in the visible world as the highest expression of the divine gift, because he bears within him the interior dimension of the gift. With it he brings into the world his particular likeness to God, with which he transcends and dominates also his "visibility" in the world, his corporality, his masculinity or femininity, his nakedness. A reflection of this likeness is also the primordial awareness of the nuptial meaning of the body, pervaded by the mystery of original innocence.

4. Thus, in this dimension, a primordial sacrament is constituted, understood as a sign that transmits effectively in the visible world the invisible mystery hidden in God from time immemorial. This is the mystery of truth and love, the mystery of divine life, in which man really participates. In the history of man, original innocence begins this participation and it is also a source of original happiness. The sacrament, as a visible sign, is constituted with man, as a body, by means of his visible masculinity and femininity. The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus be a sign of it.

5. So in man created in the image of God there was revealed, in a way, the very sacramentality of creation, the sacramentality of the world. Man, in fact, by means of his corporality, his masculinity and femininity, becomes a visible sign of the economy of truth and love, which has its source in God himself and which was revealed already in the mystery of creation. Against this vast background we understand fully the words that constitute the sacrament of marriage, present in Genesis 2:24: "A man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."

Against this vast background, we further understand that the words of Genesis 2:25, "They were both naked, and were not ashamed," through the whole depth of their anthropological meaning, express the fact that, together with man, holiness entered the visible world, created for him. The sacrament of the world, and the sacrament of man in the world, comes from the divine source of holiness, and at the same time is instituted for holiness. Connected with the experience of the nuptial meaning of the body, original innocence is the same holiness that enables man to express himself deeply with his own body. That happens precisely by means of the sincere gift of himself. In this case, awareness of the gift conditions "the sacrament of the body." In his body as male or female, man feels he is a subject of holiness.

With this consciousness of the meaning of his own body, man, as male and female, enters the world as a subject of truth and love. It can be said that Genesis 2:23-25 narrates the first feast of humanity in all the original fullness of the experience of the nuptial meaning of the body. It is a feast of humanity, which draws its origin from the divine sources of truth and love in the mystery of creation. Very soon, the horizon of sin and death will be extended over that original feast (cf. Gn 3). Yet right from the mystery of creation we already draw a first hope, that is, that the fruit of the divine economy of truth and love, which was revealed "at the beginning," is not death, but life. It is not so much the destruction of the body of the man created "in the image of God," as rather the "call to glory" (cf. Rom 8:30).

Please get over yourself.

Is it my imagination or is the "conservatives" third favorite serial adulterer obsessed with Donovan McNabb?

Only Eagles fans and the braying jackasses of the media care about McNabb and T.O.

And nobody cares about your football opinions, Rush.

Religion of Peace and Love Update.

See if you can figure out why this drawing* does not belong with the others.



Okey dokey, here are the cartoons that created the present kerfuffle in

the moslem world. I'm the type of guy who gets pissed at yahoo political

cartoonists (like that Toles cretin in Washington's other newspaper) and I

still remember the crucifix in urine we were told we must treat as art. So I

understand how moslems might be upset by these depictions of their

"prophet". Honestly, I think a moslem economic boycott is a positive step.

It beats a fatwa from some power and media exposure mad "cleric". I'd like

to think this freedom and democracy thingee is starting to take hold in the

more backward precincts. But I'm not going to hold my breath. Don't be

surprised to see cartoonists, editors, publishers, newspaper owners, and

paperboys being killed in Denmark and elsewhere. That's just the way

things are in this old world of ours. The first thing we must do is pray for the conversion of all souls. While we're doing that we must wage war against our enemies. Yep, I said enemies. That's what they are. You can tell they are our enemies because that is what they proclaim themselves to be.

If you are a moslem and are offended by these cartoons (and my posting of them) you should pray to your god and seek my conversion, that of the cartoonists, Salman Rushdie, Bush, and everyone else you think is going to hell. Or is trying to murder me the thing your religion prescribes for offensive blogging?

You should also speak reasonably to as many of us infidels as you can, politely explaining your belief system to us. And don't forget letters to the editor. We Crusaders love to read letters to the editor.

If these things do not succeed in converting any of us, they just might show us how moslems can be polite and reasonable citizens of free countries while also proving that most moslems aren't really into strapping nails and C4 onto their kids and sending them to the nearest bus stop to do their god's work.

Personally, I don't give a rat's ass what you do. You want war? Bring it on, bitch. You want to live in freedom and peace with liberty and justice for all? Welcome to the 21st century.

It really is up to you. Learn how to curb your religious zeal so you can live in peace with neighbors who think your religion is hooey. It can be quite fun, actually. Just take a stroll through my little idiot corner of Bloggerdom and remember I pray everyday for the conversion and salvation of all the souls I berate and ridicule. Even yours, my moslem brothers and sisters. (Thanks to Human Events Online and Denmark's Jyllands-Posten for posting the cartoons.)

* Anger over 'Osama bin Laden as Christ' artwork in NYC...

7th grader wants to whack Bush and Oprah.

I knew that James Frey thingee was going to cost her.

SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATES 7TH GRADER'S ESSAY THREAT...

The Secret Service is investigating a seventh-grader who wrote a school essay that authorities say advocated violence against President Bush, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and others.

The boy's homework assignment for English class was to write what he would do on a perfect day. In addition to the president and Winfrey, the boy wrote that violence should be directed at executives of Coca- Cola and Wal-Mart, police and school officials said.

"His perfect day would be to see the destruction of these people," Schools Superintendent David Raiche said.

The Secret Service investigation is ongoing, but the essay may have been a "cry for help," said Thomas M. Powers, resident agent in charge in Providence. Threatening the president is a felony, he said.

Authorities would not identify the boy or his teacher or release a copy of the essay. He was not arrested, police Detective Sgt. Fernando Araujo said.
"It wasn't any detailed, minute-by-minute plan," Araujo said. "It didn't meet the criteria for a criminal charge."

The boy has been temporarily barred from school, but as a mental health rather than disciplinary precaution, Raiche said.

Yo, Howie! Hit the redial!

Unemployment rate dropped to 4.7% in January; 4 1/2 Year Low...

Howie Spleen, call your office.

Paper: Tribes Gave To Dem Leader Reid After Hiring Abramoff...

WTF???

JAMES BOND DIRECTOR ARRESTED IN DRAG DURING PROSTITUTION STING...

From The I'd Rather Drown Than Be Saved By Jews Department:

Sorry about that. May God have mercy on all their souls.

SHIP LOST IN RED SEA; 1300 ABOARD

TITANIC 2006: 100 survivors in five lifeboats...

Egypt has declined Israel Navy's offer of search and rescue assistance...

Bad Weather...

Left Saudi Arabia bound for Egypt...

(Thanks to Drudge for these links.)

For shame!

Where are the Black and Gold crazies in Phoenix, Des Moines, and Albany?

Nationally televised pep rally canceled

A nationally televised pep rally scheduled for tonight has been canceled after organizers said they could not line up enough Steelers bars across the United States to take the feed.

The Bring It Home event was supposed to take place at Station Square and be carried live via satellite to fans nationwide. There are about 900 Steelers bars in the country, and those with DirectTV could have downloaded the show for free.

Only about 200 bars signed to take the feed - about half the number organizers had hoped for, said Beverly Morrow-Jones, spokeswoman for the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She's still hoping the event can take place - one way or the other - sometime next week.

Gratuitous Steelers Fan Photos of the Day.

Photo Credit: Eric Schmadel/Tribune-Review
Katie Miller puts her game face on Thursday at her home in Clarksburg, Indiana County. The 12-year-old, a Steelers fan who has spina bifida, will be attending Super Bowl XL thanks to the Children's Hospital Foundation and UPMC Health Plan.



Photo Credit: B.F. Henry/Tribune-Review
Mark Keyser, of Scottdale, gets ready to roll in his "Steelersmobile" after work Thursday in Hempfield Township. Keyser is a maintenance worker for PennDOT.


Photo Credit: Keith Hodan/Tribune-Review

Betty Cobert (left), of Brookline, along with Thomas Jefferson High School cheerleaders Mikey Macosko (center left) and Karlee Sallinger (center right), sing Thursday during the Victory Rally, Downtown. A lunch-hour throng of 4,500 Steelers fans crowded into a one-block section of Forbes Avenue in hopes of cheering loud enough to be heard in Detroit. Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato -- who are heading to Sunday's Super Bowl XL -- joined the "here-we-go" chants and danced to the "Steelers Polka" in the streets between the Allegheny County Courthouse and the City-County Building. Yesterday's rally was the second noontime escape for Downtown workers this week.

Super Steelers Update.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Cowher: Polamalu and Kreider are 'fine' BREAKING NEWS

Notebook: Kreider held out of practice

Post-Super Bowl security announced
Police in Pittsburgh will be armed with helicopters, tear gas, dogs and horses in case things get out of hand Sunday night after Super Bowl XL.

Steeler-less in Seattle — Franco ended career with Seahawks

Fans not welcome at Pittsburgh airport after Super Bowl

Porter keeps going
Joey Porter's mouth continued to roar Thursday when he unleashed another verbal assault against the Seattle Seahawks that wasn't strictly limited to tight end Jerramy Stevens.

Seahawks downplay remarks

Findlay's all fired up for Super Bowl

Scouting Steelers passing

A late father's wish

Keisel: Best fan arrives

Franco examines Super Bowls

Steelers FAQ


Seahawks notebook: Hackett misses practice

Super numbers

Starkey: Noll watching with pride
It's a shame Chuck Noll can't be a part of this -- not that he ever sought the spotlight.

In many ways, the Steelers still wear "The Emperor's" clothes. Noll is the one who permanently changed the culture of the franchise when he was hired as coach in 1969, the one who "created and expected a certain level of excellence and performance and commitment," as Rocky Bleier put it Thursday.

The Steelers were an old, bad joke before Noll arrived. They've been a beacon of strength, for the most part, ever since. Of course, it took him four years to turn things around, so he never would have lasted with the Daniel Snyders of the world.

Daniel Rooney, different story.

Sadly, Noll isn't feeling well enough to come to the phone these days, but he'll be intently watching Super Bowl XL with his wife, Marianne, at their home in Bonita Springs, Fla.

"His back is terrible," Mrs. Noll said yesterday. "He goes from bad to worse."

Noll's former players keep tabs on him and are concerned about what has apparently become a variety of health issues. Noll turned 74 on Jan. 5.

Prisuta: Finding his fire

Porter: Steelers will try to make Seahawks 'tap out'
Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter kept up his verbal barrage against the Seahawks, saying Thursday the Steelers will be so physical in the Super Bowl they will try to make Seattle quit playing.

Polamalu a contradictory storm of big hits, soft talk

Polamalu's hairdo turns heads

No, Steelers didn't steal their logo - but it's not theirs

Welcome to the club?

NFL adds Motown flair to Super Bowl lineup

Rothlisbergers causes confusion in Big Ben's hometown

Many Detroiters take on Steelers as their own

The Las Vegas Steelers? Check back in 40 years

Seahawks kick 12th Man dispute to federal court

You're not game to watch the Super Bowl?

Notebook: Seattle's Locklear thankful for second chance

Bettors have plenty of options on Super Bowl Sunday

Dad, son sell Super Bowl tickets to pay college tuition

XL -- The Extra-Large excess of the Super Bowl

None dare call it antichrist.

Well, actually, I do.

Menorah, Yes; Muslim Crescent, Yes; Jesus, No
(CNSNews.com) - A federal appeals court in New York ruled on Thursday it's okay for New York City Public Schools to ban the display of Christian nativity scenes during the Christmas season, even though displays of the Jewish menorah and Islamic star and crescent are permitted during Hanukkah and Ramadan. Full Story

Fyodor's Super Bowl Pick of the Week.

No anti-gambling message this week, kiddies. I know it won't do any good because a couple of billion dollars will be bet on this Super Bowl, one way or another.


Sunday 2/5


Super Bowl XL at Ford Field, Detroit

Seattle (+4.5) versus Pittsburgh
Roethlisberger, the O line, and the defensive front seven must continue playing as well as they have since the beginning of the playoffs for the Steelers to win. Do you have any doubt which way I'm going? Take Pittsburgh to cover. Big time.

FINAL: Steelers 21 Seahawks 10 - Fyodor wins! (See more Super Bowl stuff here.)

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.


Today is the Feast of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr. When was the last time you had your throat blessed by a priest on St. Blaise's Day? Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading for the Feast of St. Blaise is
Romans 5:1-5.
Today's Gospel reading is
Mark 16:15-20.


[Links to the readings will be from the NAB until I can find another chapter and verse searchable Douay-Rheims Bible on-line.]




Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today


Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.


St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.


Prayer to St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


PRAYER TO SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Theology of the Body: 18. Original Innocence and Man's Historical State

In his General Audience of 13 February 1980, the Holy Father reexamined our first parents' original innocence, as their nature was originally graced, how it affected their relationship to each other and the nuptial meaning of their bodies as male and female.


Original Innocence and Man's Historical State

During the General Audience of 13 February the Holy Father delivered the following address in Paul VI Hall.


1. Today's meditation presupposes what has already been established by the various analyses made up to now. They sprang from the answer Jesus gave to his interlocutors (cf. Mt 19:3-9; Mk 10:1-12). They had asked him a question about the indissolubility and unity of marriage. The Master had urged them to consider carefully that which was "from the beginning." For this reason, so far in this series of meditations we have tried to reproduce somehow the reality of the union, or rather of the communion of persons, lived "from the beginning" by the man and the woman. Subsequently, we tried to penetrate the content of Genesis 2:25, which is so concise: "And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed."

These words refer to the gift of original innocence, revealing its character synthetically, so to speak. On this basis, theology has constructed the global image of man's original innocence and justice, prior to original sin, by applying the method of objectivization, proper to metaphysics and metaphysical anthropology. In this analysis we are trying rather to consider the aspect of human subjectivity. The latter, moreover, seems to be closer to the original texts, especially the second narrative of creation, the Yahwist text.

2. Apart from a certain diversity of interpretation, it seems quite clear that "the experience of the body," such as it can be inferred from the ancient text of Genesis 2:23 and even more from Genesis 2:25, indicates a degree of "spiritualization" of man. This is different from that which the same text speaks of after original sin (cf. Gn 3) and which we know from the experience of historical man. It is a different measure of "spiritualization." It involves another composition of the interior forces of man himself. It involves almost another body-soul relationship, and other inner proportions between sensitivity, spirituality and affectivity, that is, another degree of interior sensitiveness to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. All this conditions man's state of original innocence and at the same time determines it, permitting us also to understand the narrative of Genesis. Theology and also the Magisterium of the Church have given these fundamental truths a specific form.(1)

Permanent roots of "ethos" of the body

3. Undertaking the analysis of the beginning according to the dimension of the theology of the body, we do so on the basis of Christ's words in which he himself referred to that "beginning." When he said: "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female?" (Mt 19:4), he ordered us and he still orders us to return to the depths of the mystery of creation. We do so, fully aware of the gift of original innocence, characteristic of man before original sin. An insuperable barrier divides us from what man then was as male and female, by means of the gift of grace united with the mystery of creation, and from what they both were for each other, as a mutual gift. Yet we try to understand that state of original innocence in its connection with man's historical state after original sin: "status naturae lapsae simul et redemptae."

Through the category of the historical a posteriori, we try to arrive at the original meaning of the body. We try to grasp the connection existing between it and the nature of original innocence in the "experience of the body," as it is highlighted in such a significant way in the Genesis narrative. We conclude that it is important and essential to define this connection, not only with regard to man's "theological prehistory," in which the life of the couple was almost completely permeated by the grace of original innocence. We must also define this connection in relation to its possibility of revealing to us the permanent roots of the human and especially the theological aspect of the ethos of the body.

Ethically conditioned

4. Man enters the world and enters the most intimate pattern of his future and his history with awareness of the nuptial meaning of his own body, of his own masculinity and femininity. Original innocence says that that meaning is conditioned "ethically," and furthermore, that on its part, it constitutes the future of the human ethos. This is very important for the theology of the body. It is the reason why we must construct this theology "from the beginning," carefully following the indication of Christ's words.

In the mystery of creation, man and woman were "given" in a special way to each other by the Creator. That was not only in the dimension of that first human couple and of that first communion of persons, but in the whole perspective of the existence of the human family. The fundamental fact of human existence at every stage of its history is that God "created them male and female." He always creates them in this way and they are always such. Understanding of the fundamental meanings contained in the mystery of creation, such as the nuptial meaning of the body (and of the fundamental conditionings of this meaning), is important. It is indispensable in order to know who man is and who he should be, and therefore how he should mold his own activity. It is an essential and important thing for the future of the human ethos.

5. Genesis 2:24 notes that the two, man and woman, were created for marriage: "Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." In this way a great creative perspective is opened. It is precisely the perspective of man's existence, which is continually renewed by means of procreation, or, we could say, self-reproduction.

This perspective is deeply rooted in the consciousness of humanity (cf. Gn 2:23) and also in the particular consciousness of the nuptial meaning of the body (Gn 2:25). Before becoming husband and wife (later Gn 4:1 speaks of this in the concrete), the man and the woman emerge from the mystery of creation in the first place as brother and sister in the same humanity. Understanding the nuptial meaning of the body in its masculinity and femininity reveals the depths of their freedom, which is freedom of giving.

From here that communion of persons begins, in which both meet and give themselves to each other in the fullness of their subjectivity. Thus both grow as persons-subjects. They grow mutually one for the other also through their body and through that nakedness free of shame. In this communion of persons the whole depth of the original solitude of man (of the first one and of all) is perfectly ensured. At the same time, this solitude becomes in a marvelous way permeated and broadened by the gift of the "other." If the man and the woman cease to be a disinterested gift for each other, as they were in the mystery of creation, then they recognize that "they are naked" (cf. Gn 3). Then the shame of that nakedness, which they had not felt in the state of original innocence, will spring up in their hearts.

Original innocence manifests and at the same time constitutes the perfect ethos of the gift.

NOTES

1. "If one should not acknowledge that the first man Adam, on transgressing God's command in paradise, did not immediately lose the holiness and justice in which he had been constituted...let him be anathema" (Council of Trent, Sess. V, con. 1, 2: D.B. 788, 789).The first parents had been constituted in a state of holiness and justice.... The state of original justice conferred on the first parents was gratuitous and truly supernatural.... The first parents were constituted in a state of integral nature, i.e., immune from concupiscence, ignorance, pain and death...and they enjoyed a unique happiness.... The gifts of integrity granted to the first parents were gratuitous and preternatural (A. Tanquerey, Synopsis Theologiae Dogmaticae [Paris: 1943], 24 pp. 545-549).

The Theology of the Body: 17. Man and Woman: A Mutual Gift for Each Other

In his General Audience of 6 February 1980, the Holy Father reexamined the nuptial meaning of the body, in the mutual gift of self by our first parents, in the context of their original innocence.


Man and Woman: A Mutual Gift for Each Other

On Wednesday, 6 February, the Holy Father delivered the following address to the faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall for the General Audience.


Let us continue the examination of that beginning, which Jesus referred to in his talk with the Pharisees on the subject of marriage. This reflection requires us to go beyond the threshold of man's history and arrive at the state of original innocence. To grasp the meaning of this innocence, we take as our basis, in a way, the experience of historical man, the testimony of his heart and conscience.

United with innocence

2. Following the historical a posteriori line, let us try to reconstruct the peculiarity of original innocence enclosed within the mutual experience of the body and its nuptial meaning, according to Genesis 2:23-25. The situation described here reveals the beatifying experience of the meaning of the body. Within the mystery of creation, man attains this in the complementarity of what is male and female in him. However, at the root of this experience there must be the interior freedom of the gift, united above all with innocence. The human will is originally innocent. In this way, the reciprocity and the exchange of the gift of the body, according to its masculinity and femininity, as the gift of the person, is facilitated. Consequently, the innocence to which Genesis 2:25 bears witness can be defined as innocence of the mutual experience of the body.

The sentence: "The man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed," expresses this innocence in the reciprocal experience of the body. This innocence inspires the interior exchange of the gift of the person. In the mutual relationship, this actualizes concretely the nuptial meaning of masculinity and femininity. To understand the innocence of the mutual experience of the body, we must try to clarify what the interior innocence in the exchange of the gift of the person consists of. This exchange constitutes the real source of the experience of innocence.

Reciprocal acceptance

3. Interior innocence (that is, righteousness of intention) in the exchange of the gift consists in reciprocal "acceptance" of the other, such as to correspond to the essence of the gift. In this way, mutual donation creates the communion of persons. It is a question of "receiving" the other human being and "accepting" him. This is because in this mutual relationship, which Genesis 2:23-25 speaks of, the man and the woman become a gift for each other, through the whole truth and evidence of their own body in its masculinity and femininity. It is a question, then, of an "acceptance" or "welcome" that expresses and sustains, in mutual nakedness, the meaning of the gift. Therefore, it deepens the mutual dignity of it. This dignity corresponds profoundly to the fact that the Creator willed (and continually wills) man, male and female, "for his own sake." The innocence "of the heart," and consequently, the innocence of the experience, means a moral participation in the eternal and permanent act of God's will.

The opposite of this "welcoming" or "acceptance" of the other human being as a gift would be a privation of the gift itself. Therefore, it would be a changing and even a reduction of the other to an "object for myself" (an object of lust, of misappropriation, etc.).

We will not deal in detail now with this multiform, presumable antithesis of the gift. However, in the context of Genesis 2:23-25, we can note that this extorting of the gift from the other human being (from the woman by the man and vice versa) and reducing him or her interiorly to a mere "object for me," should mark the beginning of shame. The latter corresponds to a threat inflicted on the gift in its personal intimacy and bears witness to the interior collapse of innocence in the mutual experience.

Giving becomes accepting

4. According to Genesis 2:25, "The man and his wife were not ashamed." We can conclude that the exchange of the gift, in which the whole of their humanity participated, body and soul, femininity and masculinity, was actualized by preserving the interior characteristic (that is, precisely, innocence) of the donation of oneself and of the acceptance of the other as a gift. These two functions of mutual exchange are deeply connected in the whole process of the gift of oneself. The giving and the accepting of the gift interpenetrate, so that the giving itself becomes accepting, and the acceptance is transformed into giving.

Rediscovers herself

5. Genesis 2:23-25 enables us to deduce that woman, who in the mystery of creation "is given" to man by the Creator, is "received," thanks to original innocence. That is, she is accepted by man as a gift. The Bible text is quite clear and limpid at this point. At the same time, the acceptance of the woman by the man and the very way of accepting her, become, as it were, a first donation. In giving herself (from the very first moment in which, in the mystery of creation, she was "given" to the man by the Creator), the woman "rediscovers herself" at the same time. This is because she has been accepted and welcomed, and thanks to the way in which she has been received by the man.

So she finds herself again in the very fact of giving herself "through a sincere gift of herself," (cf. Gaudium et Spes 24), when she is accepted in the way in which the Creator wished her to be, that is, "for her own sake," through her humanity and femininity. When the whole dignity of the gift is ensured in this acceptance, through the offer of what she is in the whole truth of her humanity and in the whole reality of her body and sex, of her femininity, she reaches the inner depth of her person and full possession of herself.

Let us add that this finding of oneself in giving oneself becomes the source of a new giving of oneself. This grows by virtue of the interior disposition to the exchange of the gift and to the extent to which it meets with the same and even deeper acceptance and welcome as the fruit of a more and more intense awareness of the gift itself.

Real communion of persons

6. It seems that the second narrative of creation has assigned to man "from the beginning" the function of the one who, above all, receives the gift (cf. especially Gn 2:23). "From the beginning" the woman is entrusted to his eyes, to his consciousness, to his sensitivity, to his heart. On the other hand, he must, in a way, ensure the same process of the exchange of the gift, the mutual interpenetration of giving and receiving as a gift. Precisely through its reciprocity, it creates a real communion of persons.

In the mystery of creation, the woman was "given" to the man. On his part, in receiving her as a gift in the full truth of her person and femininity, man thereby enriches her. At the same time, he too is enriched in this mutual relationship. The man is enriched not only through her, who gives him her own person and femininity, but also through the gift of himself. The man's giving of himself, in response to that of the woman, enriches himself. It manifests the specific essence of his masculinity which, through the reality of the body and of sex, reaches the deep recesses of the "possession of self." Thanks to this he is capable both of giving himself and of receiving the other's gift.

Therefore, the man not only accepts the gift. At the same time he is received as a gift by the woman, in the revelation of the interior spiritual essence of his masculinity, together with the whole truth of his body and sex. Accepted in this way, he is enriched through this acceptance and welcoming of the gift of his own masculinity. Subsequently, this acceptance, in which the man finds himself again through the sincere gift of himself, becomes in him the source of a new and deeper enrichment of the woman. The exchange is mutual. In it the reciprocal effects of the sincere gift and of the finding oneself again are revealed and grow.

In this way, following the trail of the historical a posteriori—and above all, following the trail of human hearts—we can reproduce and, as it were, reconstruct that mutual exchange of the gift of the person, which was described in the ancient text of Genesis, so rich and deep.

That last one was about as bad as it gets.

Watching the corruption of children leaves ol' Fyodor feeling dirty. How about you?

Luckily, Pope John Paul the Great can help...

SEX IS DEATH. (Kids do the darndest things)





I came to Carthage, where I found myself in the midst of a hissing cauldron of lusts. I had not yet fallen in love, but I was in love with the idea of it, and this feeling that something was missing made me despise myself for not being more anxious to satisfy the need. I began to look around for some object for my love, since I badly wanted to love something. —St. Augustine, Confessions

Golly, Mom, I'm gonna be in a magazine!

New York magazine is a prime repository of SEX IS DEATH material. But don't fool yourselves, kiddies. This nonsense doesn't just happen in Sodom on the Hudson. The children in Podunk have also been indoctrinated in the cult of orgasm über alles.

The whole thing makes for bleak and dreary reading. That, and the fact the webpages' download is maddeningly slow, have forced me to only post my favorite bits.

BTW, I am fairly sure I know why all the children in this story fail to recognize the despair constantly pouring out of themselves and their friends, but what excuse does the writer have?

The Cuddle Puddle of Stuyvesant High School
Researchers find it shocking that 11 percent of American girls between 15 and 19 claim to have same-sex encounters. Clearly they’ve never observed the social rituals of the pansexual, bi-queer, metroflexible New York teen.


Alair is wearing a tight white tank top cut off above the hem to show her midriff. Her black cargo pants graze the top of her combat boots, and her black leather belt is studded with metal chains that drape down at intervals across her hips. She has long blonde curls that at various times have been dyed green, blue, red, purple, and orange. (“A mistake,” she says. “Even if you mean to dye your hair orange, it’s still a mistake.”) Despite the fact that she’s fully clothed, she seems somehow exposed, her baby fat lingering in all the right places. Walking down the sterile, white halls of Stuyvesant High School, she creates a wave of attention. She’s not the most popular girl in school, but she is well known. “People like me,” she wrote in an instant message. “Well, most of them.”

Alair is headed for the section of the second-floor hallway where her friends gather every day during their free tenth period for the “cuddle puddle,” as she calls it. There are girls petting girls and girls petting guys and guys petting guys. She dives into the undulating heap of backpacks and blue jeans and emerges between her two best friends, Jane and Elle, whose names have been changed at their request. They are all 16, juniors at Stuyvesant. Alair slips into Jane’s lap, and Elle reclines next to them, watching, cat-eyed. All three have hooked up with each other. All three have hooked up with boys—sometimes the same boys. But it’s not that they’re gay or bisexual, not exactly. Not always.

I know what you are thinking.
"Where are the teachers and administrators?"
You are hoplessly naive.

Their friend Nathan, a senior with John Lennon hair and glasses, is there with his guitar, strumming softly under the conversation. “So many of the girls here are lesbian or have experimented or are confused,” he says.

Ilia, another senior boy, frowns at Nathan’s use of labels. “It’s not lesbian or bisexual. It’s just, whatever . . . ”

Since the school day is winding down, things in the hallway are starting to get rowdy. Jane disappears for a while and comes back carrying a pint-size girl over her shoulder. “Now I take her off and we have gay sex!” she says gleefully, as she parades back and forth in front of the cuddle puddle. “And it’s awesome!” The hijacked girl hangs limply, a smile creeping to her lips. Ilia has stuffed papers up the front of his shirt and prances around on tiptoe, batting his eyes and sticking out his chest. Elle is watching, enthralled, as two boys lock lips across the hall. “Oh, my,” she murmurs. “Homoerotica. There’s nothing more exciting than watching two men make out.” And everyone is talking to another girl in the puddle who just “came out,” meaning she announced that she’s now open to sexual overtures from both boys and girls, which makes her a minor celebrity, for a little while.

Ha! Andy Warhol, call your office.

When asked how many of her female friends have had same-sex experiences, Alair answers, “All of them.” Then she stops to think about it. “All right, maybe 80 percent. At least 80 percent of them have experimented. And they still are. It’s either to please a man, or to try it out, or just to be fun, or ’cause you’re bored, or just ’cause you like it . . . whatever.”

"To please a man..." When will the so-called feminists get it? Women are slaves to men when they behave like men at their worst.

With teenagers there is always a fair amount of posturing when it comes to sex, a tendency to exaggerate or trivialize, innocence mixed with swagger. It’s also true that the “puddle” is just one clique at Stuyvesant, and that Stuyvesant can hardly be considered a typical high school. It attracts the brightest public-school students in New York, and that may be an environment conducive to fewer sexual inhibitions. “In our school,” Elle says, “people are getting a better education, so they’re more open-minded.”

Wow. People actually believe that? That's pretty stupid. Even for an adolescent. (I wonder how many degrees Aleister Crowley had?)

That said, the Stuyvesant cuddle puddle is emblematic of the changing landscape of high-school sexuality across the country. This past September, when the National Center for Health Statistics released its first survey in which teens were questioned about their sexual behavior, 11 percent of American girls polled in the 15-to-19 demographic claimed to have had same-sex encounters—the same percentage of all women ages 15 to 44 who reported same-sex experiences, even though the teenagers have much shorter sexual histories. It doesn’t take a Stuyvesant education to see what this means: More girls are experimenting with each other, and they’re starting younger. And this is a conservative estimate, according to Ritch Savin-Williams, a professor of human development at Cornell who has been conducting research on same-sex-attracted adolescents for over twenty years. Depending on how you phrase the questions and how you define sex between women, he believes that “it’s possible to get up to 20 percent of teenage girls.”

Of course, what can’t be expressed in statistical terms is how teenagers think about their same-sex interactions. Go to the schools, talk to the kids, and you’ll see that somewhere along the line this generation has started to conceive of sexuality differently. Ten years ago in the halls of Stuyvesant you might have found a few goth girls kissing goth girls, kids on the fringes defiantly bucking the system. Now you find a group of vaguely progressive but generally mainstream kids for whom same-sex intimacy is standard operating procedure. “It’s not like, Oh, I’m going to hit on her now. It’s just kind of like, you come up to a friend, you grab their ass,” Alair explains. “It’s just, like, our way of saying hello.”

These teenagers don’t feel as though their sexuality has to define them, or that they have to define it, which has led some psychologists and child-development specialists to label them the “post-gay” generation. But kids like Alair and her friends are in the process of working up their own language to describe their behavior. Along with gay, straight, and bisexual, they’ll drop in new words, some of which they’ve coined themselves: polysexual, ambisexual, pansexual, pansensual, polyfide, bi-curious, bi-queer, fluid, metroflexible, heteroflexible, heterosexual with lesbian tendencies—or, as Alair puts it, “just sexual.” The terms are designed less to achieve specificity than to leave all options open.

Congratulations. We've officially destroyed childhood. Hell, even I used the word adolescent earlier in this post.

To some it may sound like a sexual Utopia, where labels have been banned and traditional gender roles surpassed, but it’s a complicated place to be. Anyone who has ever been a girl in high school knows the vicissitudes of female friendships. Add to that a sexual component and, well, things get interesting. Take Alair and her friend Jane, for example. “We’ve been dancing around each other for, like, three years now,” says Alair. “I’d hop into bed with her in a second.” Jane is tall and curvy with green eyes and faint dimples. She thinks Alair is “amazing,” but she’s already had a female friendship ruined when it turned into a romantic relationship, so she’s reluctant to let it happen again. Still, they pet each other in the hall, flirt, kiss, but that’s it, so far. “Alair,” Jane explains, “is literally in love with everyone and in love with no one.”

Yeah, it's complicated. That's what's wrong with it. If only people could get rid of love, jealousy, memory, fear, and conscience we could all get some teenage girls.

Relationships are a bitch, dude.”

Alair is having lunch with Jane, Elle, and their friend Nathan at a little Indian place near Jane’s Upper West Side apartment. Jane has been telling the story of her first lesbian relationship: She fell for a girl who got arrested while protesting the Republican National Convention (very cool), but the girl stopped calling after they spent the night together (very uncool).

“We should all be single for the rest of our lives,” Alair continues. “And we should all have sugar daddies.” As the only child of divorced parents, Alair learned early that love doesn’t always end in happily ever after and that sex doesn’t always end in love.

This little Alair babe has clearly internalized the message rich and powerful older men have been peddling for several thousand years: The courtesan is the pinnacle of womanhood.

Senator Murder and King Goober II, call your respective offices.

Maybe everyone ought to ask their daughters right now if they aspire to be expensive whores...

Nathan looks across the table at her and nods knowingly. He recently broke up with a girl he still can’t get off his mind, even though he wasn’t entirely faithful when they were together. “I agree. I wholeheartedly agree,” he says.

“I disagree,” says Elle, alarmed. She’s the romantic of the group, a bit naïve, if you ask the others.

“Well,” says Nathan. “You’re, like, the only one in a happy relationship right now, so . . . ”

Alair cracks up. “Happy? Her man is gayer than I am!” (Jane, the sarcastic one, has a joke about this boy: “He’s got one finger left in the closet, and it’s in Elle, depending on what time it is.”)

“But at least she’s happy,” argues Nathan.

“When I’m single, I say I’m happy I’m single, and when I’m in a relationship I seem happy in the relationship. Really, I’m filled with angst!” says Elle.

Nathan rolls his eyes. “Anyone who says they’re filled with angst is definitely not filled with angst.”

He’s got a point. In her brand-new sneakers and her sparkly barrettes, Elle is hardly a poster child for teenage anxiety. She makes A’s at Stuyvesant, babysits her cousins, and is engaging in a way that will go over well in college interviews...

Due to time constraints, we now move to further action...

“The interesting kids kind of gravitate towards each other,” Elle had explained earlier. “A lot of them are heteroflexible or bisexual or gay. And what happens is, like, we’re all just really comfortable around each other.”

Still, among her friends, Elle’s ideas are the most traditional. Her first kiss with a girl was at Hebrew school. Since then, she’s made out with girls frequently but dated only guys.

“I’ve always been the marrying type,” she says to the table. “Not just ’cause it’s been forced on me, but ’cause it’s a good idea. I really want to have kids when I grow up.”

“Have mine,” offers Alair.

“I will,” Elle coos in her best sultry voice. “Anything for you, Alair.”

Jane blinks quickly, something she has a habit of doing when she’s gathering her thoughts. “They will probably have the technology by the time we grow up that you two could have a baby together.”

Ahhhh...smell the freedom granted to us by the magical technology fairies...

“But, like, if Alair doesn’t want to birth her own child, I could.”

“I’ll birth it,” Alair says, sighing. “I just want you to raise it and pay for it and take care of it and never tell it that I’m its parent. ’Cause, I mean, that would scar a child for life. Like, the child would start convulsing.” Everyone laughs.

Speaking of parents, let's meet the wacky bunch of terminal adolescents (that word again!) for whom these precocious perverts are merely tax deductions.

“You’d be an awesome mom, I think,” says Elle. Her own mom puts a lot of pressure on her to date a nice Jewish boy. Once, Elle asked her, “ ‘Mom, what if I have these feelings for girls?’ and she said, ‘Do you have feelings for boys too?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And she’s like, ‘Then you have to ignore the ones you have for girls. If you can be straight, you have to be straight.’ ” Elle asked to go by a nickname because she hasn’t told her mother that she’s not ignoring those feelings.

Even as cultural acceptance of gay and bisexual teenagers grows, these kids are coming up against an uncomfortable generational divide. In many of their families, the ‘It’s fine, as long as it’s not my kid’ attitude prevails. Some of the parents take comfort in the belief that this is just a phase their daughters will grow out of. Others take more drastic measures. Earlier this year at Horace Mann, when one girl’s parents found out that she was having a relationship with another girl, they searched her room, confiscated her love letters, and even had the phone company send them transcripts of all her text messages. Then they informed her girlfriend’s parents. In the end, the girls were forbidden to see each other outside school.

Even Jane, whose parents know about her bisexuality and are particularly well suited to understanding it (her mother teaches a college course in human sexuality), has run up against the limits of their liberal attitudes. They requested that she go by her middle name in this story. “My mom thinks I’m going to grow up and be ashamed of my sexuality,” she says. “But I won’t....”

Alair is one of the lucky ones whose parents don’t mind her bisexual tendencies. Her dad is the president of a company that manages performance artists and her mom is a professional organizer. “My parents are awesome,” she says. “I think they’ve tried to raise me slightly quirky, like in a very hippie little way, and it totally backfired on them....”

Au contraire, Alair! Your parental units have exactly what they want. And deserve.

“My mom’s like, ‘Alair, I don’t understand you. I want to be a parent to you but I have no control at all . . . As a person you’re awesome. You’re hilarious, you entertain me, you’re so cool. I would totally be your friend. But as your mother, I’m worried.’ ”

“I can’t say I was pleased,” her mother tells me about first learning of Alair’s bisexual experimentation. “But I can’t say I was upset either. I like that she’s forthright about what she wants, that she values her freedom, that she takes care of herself. But I have all the trepidations a parent has when they learn their child is becoming sexually active...”

I can totally relate, Mom. It's not like you can teach her to put one of those magical condoms on her tongue. Or can you???

...Alair and Nathan want to go to the same college, wherever that may be.

“You do realize,” Alair tells him, “that, like, we’re two of the most awesome people in the school.”

“We would room,” Nathan says. “We would totally room.”

“Fuck yeah. But I’m gonna need a lock on my door for like, ‘I’m bringing these five girls home, Nathan. What are you doing tonight?’ ” She mimics his voice, “‘I’m reading my book.’ ”

“Ouch!” Nathan scowls at her.

“It’s the Kama Sutra!”

“Oh, right, right.”

“I’ve actually read the Kama Sutra,” Alair informs the table. “Some of that shit just isn’t gonna work.”

“I know!” says Jane. “We have three editions at my house.”

Hmmm...intellectualoids...and clever ones at that. America's future is secure!

“Like, I’ve tried it. You need a man that’s like ‘Argh!’ ” Alair pumps her arms up above her head. “I’ve got one of those guys, actually.” She’s talking about Jason, the boy she was hanging out with last night, another frequenter of the cuddle puddle. “He’s so built...”

Programs! Programs! Get your program! You can't tell the players without a program...

It practically takes a diagram to plot all the various hookups and connections within the cuddle puddle. Elle’s kissed Jane and Jane’s kissed Alair and Alair’s kissed Elle. And then from time to time Elle hooks up with Nathan, but really only at parties, and only when Bethany isn’t around, because Nathan really likes Bethany, who doesn’t have a thing for girls but doesn’t have a problem with girls who do, either. Alair’s hooking up with Jason (who “kind of” went out with Jane once), even though she sort of also has a thing for Hector, who Jane likes, too—though Jane thinks it’s totally boring when people date people of the same gender. Ilia has a serious girlfriend, but girls were hooking up at his last party, which was awesome. Molly has kissed Alair, and Jane’s ex-girlfriend first decided she was bi while staying at Molly’s beach house on Fire Island. Sarah sometimes kisses Elle, although she has a boyfriend—he doesn’t care if she hooks up with other girls, since she’s straight anyway. And so on...

Of course, the definition of “hooking up” is as nebulous as the definition of “heteroflexible.” A catchall phrase for anything from “like, exchanging of saliva” to intercourse, it’s often a euphemism for oral sex. But rules are hazy when you’re talking about physical encounters between two girls. As Alair puts it, “How do you define female sex? It’s difficult. I don’t know what the bases are. Everyone keeps trying to explain the bases to me, but there’s so many things that just don’t fit into the base system. I usually leave it up to the other girl.”

Elle elaborates by using herself as an example. At a recent party, she says, she “kissed five people and, like, hooked up with two going beyond kissing. One of them was a boy and one of them was a girl. The reason I started hooking up with the guy is because he was making out with this other guy and he came back and was like, ‘I have to prove that I’m straight.’ And I was standing right there. That’s how it all began.” The guy in question became her boyfriend that night; even though the relationship is all of a week old, she calls it her second “serious” relationship. “At least I’m intending for it to be serious.” (It lasted eleven days.)

The cuddle puddle may be where a flirtation begins, but parties, not surprisingly, are where most of the real action takes place. In parentless apartments, the kids are free to “make the rounds,” as they call it, and move their more-than-kissing hookups with both genders behind locked bathroom doors or onto coat-laden beds. Even for bisexual girls there is, admittedly, a Girls Gone Wild aspect to these evenings. Some girls do hook up with other girls solely to please the guys who watch, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the behavior of someone who is legitimately sexually interested and someone who wants to impress the boy across the room. Alair is quick to disparage this behavior—“It kinda grosses me out. It can’t be like, this could be fun . . . is anyone watching my chest heave?”—but Jane sees it as empowering. “I take advantage of it because manipulating boys is fun as hell. Boys make out with boys for our benefit as well. So it’s not just one way. It’s very fair.”

She’s not just making excuses. These girls have obliterated the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” stranglehold that has traditionally plagued high-school females. They set the sexual agenda for their group. And they expect reciprocation. “I’ve made it my own personal policy that if I’m going to give oral sex, I’m going to receive oral sex,” says Jane. “Jane wears the pants in any relationship,” Ilia says with a grin. “She wears the pants in my relationship, even though she’s not part of it.”

Har dee har har har! The writer seems almost giddy, as if these confused and ignorant children are a combination of Kinsey, Hefner, and one of the Clintons all rolled into one.

When the girls talk about other girls they sound like football players in a locker room (Q.E.D. - F.G.) (“The Boobie Goddesses of our grade are Natalie and Annette,” or “Have you seen the Asian girl who wears that tiny red dress and those high red sneakers?,” or “Carol is so hot! Why is she straight? I don’t get it”), but there’s little gossip about same-sex hookups—partly because the novelty has by now worn off, and partly because, as Alair puts it, “it’s not assumed that a relationship will stem from it.” It seems that even with all the same-sex activity going on, it’s still hard for the girls to find other girls to actually date. Jane says this is because the girls who like girls generally like boys more, at least for dating. “A lot of girls are scared about trying to make a lesbian relationship work,” she says. “There’s this fear that there has to be the presence of a man or it won’t work.”

Yep. Somebody's got to pay for the movie tickets. And the weed. And the food. (According to Kinsey, butch lesbians are notoriously cheap. Of course, he only interviewed two.)

But dating gay girls isn’t really an option either, because the cuddle-puddle kids are not considered part of the gay community. “One of the great things about bisexuality is that mainstream gay culture doesn’t affect us as much,” (Read that one again, kiddies. But sit down first or you'll get dizzy. - F. G.) says Jane, “so it’s not like bi boys feel that they have to talk with a lisp and walk around all fairylike, and it’s not like girls feel like they have to dress like boys.” The downside, she says, is that “gays feel that bis will cheat on them in a straight manner.” In fact, there’s a general impression of promiscuity that bisexual girls can’t seem to shake. “The image of people who are bi is that they are sluts,” says Jane. “One of the reasons straight boys have this bi-girls fantasy is that they are under the impression that bisexual girls will sleep with anything that moves and that’s why they like both genders, because they are so sex-obsessed. Which isn’t true.”

Ow! Poor Fyodor's old head hurts from trying to make sense out of the above pile of crap.

On the other hand, it's good to know high school kids are still dumb as dirt.
What's worse, having a couple of underage beers or rampant sodomy?

The more things change...

If "Why?" is smacking the back of your eyes witha 2x4, desperately trying to get your attention, get a load of this:

If you ask the girls why they think there’s more teenage bisexual experimentation happening today, Alair is quick with an explanation. “I blame television,” she says. “I blame the media.” She’s partly joking, giving the stock answer. But there’s obviously some truth to it. She’s too young to remember a time when she couldn’t turn on Showtime or even MTV and regularly see girls kissing girls. It’s not simply that they’re imitating what they’ve seen, it’s that the stigma has been erased, maybe even transformed into cachet. “It’s in the realm of possibilities now,” as Ritch Savin-Williams puts it. “When you don’t think of it as being a possibility, you don’t do it. But now that it’s out there, it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that could be fun.’ ” Of course, sexy TV shows would have no impact at all if they weren’t tapping into something more innate. Perhaps, as research suggests, sexuality is more fluid for women than it is for men. Perhaps natural female intimacy opens the door to sexual experimentation at an age when male partners can be particularly unsatisfying. As one mother of a cuddle-puddle kid puts it, “Emotionally it’s safer—it’s difficult in this age group to hold onto your body. You’re changing. There’s a safety factor in a girl being with a girl.” Then, laughing, she asked that her name be withheld. “My mother might read this...”

Due to time constraints, we now move to further action...

...(Jane) is in a particularly good mood today, quick to smile, and even more quick to drop into conversation the name of the boy she recently started dating, a tall, good-looking senior and one of the most popular kids at Stuyvesant. Later, while rummaging for silverware, she casually mentions that they may start dating exclusively.

“Ugh!” Alair exclaims, grabbing her by the hips and pulling her away from the drawer. “What about me?”

“Let’s put it this way,” Jane counters, grinning and snatching up a fork. “I’m not interested in any other guys.”

Still, it’s clear that Jane really likes this guy. And Alair seems a little rattled. Her fortune cookie reads, “You are the master of every situation.” Except perhaps this one.

Women. Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em. (Thanks to Al Bundy for that classic bit of tv-cana.

I feel your pain, Alair. I really do.

Later, after the lamps have been switched on and the takeout eaten, both girls are on a love seat in the living room, leaning into each other, boys and dirty dishes strewn about. Jane starts showing off what she can do with her tongue, touching her nose with it, twisting it around, doing rolls. Everyone is impressed.

“My tongue gets a lot of practice,” she says.

See gratuitous prophylactic joke above.

“Why don’t you practice on me?” Alair demands. “I’ll hook up with you.” It’s clear that she means more than kissing.

Jane blinks a few times. “I’m scared I’m going to be bad at it,” she finally says. She’s being coy, just putting her off, but there’s a bit of sincerity to her nervousness.

“You won’t be bad at it,” Alair reassures her. She pulls Jane between her legs and starts giving her a massage, running her hands up and down her back, pushing her hair aside to rub her neck. When the massage is over, Jason comes over to Alair, grabs her hand, kisses it. For the rest of the evening, he stays close to her side, but she stays close to Jane.

The next day when I meet up with Alair on her way to choir practice, she tells me that nothing ever happened with Jane that night. She’s decided to give up on her. Jane’s with someone else, it’s official, and there’s no room in the relationship for her. “But you know what,” she says, mustering a smile. “They’re, like, monogamous together, and I’m really happy for them. And being their friend and seeing them so happy together totally beats a fling.” She pauses. “It really does.”

May God have mercy on all their poor souls. And ours.

(Memo To Alair: Iggy Pop is so over. I mean he stinks out loud. Always has, always will. His ignorant exhibitionism, lack of talent, sexual stupidity, and self-destructiveness...huh?...yeah, I see what you mean. Maybe that is the point. Good luck, babydoll.)


Part 1: SEX IS DEATH. (Stories for Boys) is here.
Part 2: SEX IS DEATH. (Distaff Death) is here.
Part 3: SEX IS DEATH. (Joyously dispensing death) is here.
Part 4: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is depression) is here.
Part 5: SEX IS DEATH. (When self-pleasuring becomes self-destruction) is here.
Part 6: SEX IS DEATH. (Sex is theft) is
here.
Part 7: SEX IS DEATH. (A review of Bareback Mountain) is
here.
Part 8: SEX IS DEATH. (What is the ultimate penalty?) is
here.
Part 9: SEX IS DEATH. (Haven from reality) is
here.
Part 10: SEX IS DEATH. (Sin-redemption-reasons-reason) is
here.
Part 11: SEX IS DEATH. (Mommy loves you) is
here.
Part 12: SEX IS DEATH. (George Gilder offers a clue) is
here.
Part 13: SEX IS DEATH. (Post-killem depression) is
here.
Part 14: SEX IS DEATH. (Whither womanhood) is
here.
Part 15: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 1) is
here.
Part 16: SEX IS DEATH. (Saving psychology 2) is
here.
Part 17: SEX IS DEATH. (Fear of the boomers) is
here.
Part 18: SEX IS DEATH. (The battle continues apace) is
here.

Part 19: SEX IS DEATH. (Hot for teacher) is
here.

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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