Shooting down taboos
In a society where the obvious no longer remains obvious, someone needs to restate it in the hope that it does not disappear altogether. This is the mission of the Church when society starts redefining beyond recognition obvious and basic realities such as sexuality, love, gender, marriage, fertility and life.
This critical overview of trends in our society in no way dismisses or underestimates the real suffering of those who struggle with the above issues. Tribute must be paid to those who opt to pay the price of upholding fundamental values at great personal sacrifice. Here, I just wish to point out how the erosion of these values is fast progressing among us.
The process was first started by separating sexuality from meaningful relationship. We prided ourselves in a newly gained emancipation by declaring sexual permissiveness a mark of progress and liberalism. Sex needs not be limited to a lasting, interpersonal relationship. The first taboo was conquered.
Once relationships are divorced from responsibility, commitment simply disappears. Sex and love become interchangeable terms. Having sex is making love.
Love is redefined as a pleasant emotion or attraction that provides the desired sense of satisfaction. No wonder that when love is seen in terms of what one can get out of the other person, it becomes as short-lived and superficial as the attraction that started it. Another taboo is broken. Love is not forever.
If love cannot be forever, why should marriage be? The next taboo will fall like its preceding casualties. Marriage may be contracted by two consenting adults who choose to commit themselves for life.
But that is only one option. If they decide so, one party in marriage may simply ignore his or her commitment and enter into another one with the full backing of our compassionate new law of divorce.
Marriage is redefined as a temporary, legally sanctioned lie, whereby ‘till death do us part’ is redefined as: ‘till need or inconvenience do us part’.
When a person starts to be seen as a disposable partner, it’s only one step away until we separate the person from the gender. In the name of respect for the person, the gender is rendered irrelevant and interchangeable. A subtle move, making the fundamental male-female dyad old fashioned and pedantic.
Difference is suppressed and the term equality is redefined to mean uniformity. Another taboo is broken. Being male or female is redefined as a simple form for the human spirit but carries no substance.
Once maleness and femaleness are thus formally equalised beyond recognition, the way is cleared to redefine all the terms on which human society may be built. Marriage is open to all, irrespective of gender or commitment.
Having children becomes a right to married or single people irrespective of gender. This is conveniently supported by the careful redefinition of the needs of the child – ‘all the child needs is loving care’. The right of the child to be conceived by an old-fashioned couple of a man and a woman in a stable marriage is another taboo that is put to rest.
Once a child is seen as the coveted achievement of its parent/s or guardian/s, the last taboo is finally overcome. A child is no longer a gift received but a dream fulfilled. We can no longer speak of parenting children. We start producing them.
And a society that is well-versed in production lines and quality control will simply redefine the child as another consumer object, produced and timed according to specifications.
The process has come full circle. What started as a devaluation of the human being, transforming him or her into a source of consumer satisfaction has ended up in the production of human beings for consumer satisfaction. The next step will be to let abortion and euthanasia dispose of the rejects.
In a decadent society that has lost sight of its basics, if anyone can think of a more efficient way to destroy humanity, their ideas will surely be very welcome.
In the meantime, the Church continues to be the lonely voice that proclaims the old-fashioned but sure way in which humanity may survive in its dignity and nature. It humbly but strongly states: Human life begins at conception. Children should be received as the fruit of the love between one man and one woman united in a stable and faithful marriage through sexual union that is open to life.
Shooting down taboos is shooting oneself in the foot – or is it in the heart?