The Role of Concupiscence in the Decline of the Catholic Church

On the real root of the rot in the Roman church

The role of concupiscence in dimming our spiritual sight has long been recognized by many, among them, such luminaries as Plato, Augustine, and Blaise Pascal:

There are some who see clearly that man has no other enemy but concupiscence, which turns him away from God. (Pensées, Krailsheimer #269, p. 110)

Has anyone pointed out that this is the real root of the rot in the Roman church? The depth of the corruption is hard to fathom, both in the sense of understand and in the sense of measure the depth of. R. R. Reno reports

From 1990 until 2010, I taught at a Jesuit University and was privy to insider gossip. The Irish philosopher William Desmond recounted some of his experiences as a young scholar visiting Fordham in the 1970s. The main debate in the Jesuit dining room concerned whether or not sodomy constituted a violation of the vow of celibacy. Some priests took the line that celibacy concerns the conjugal act, not sterile sex between men. A friend who spent time as a Jesuit novice during that slouching decade told me that novice masters regarded homo­sexual relations as healthy, even necessary for proper priestly formation. Sometimes the novice masters insisted that they be the agents of this “formation.”

This shows that the post-Vatican II church has become a thoroughly corrupt joke that deserves no support from the laity. Or am I being too harsh?

Imagine ordained priests -- not horny freshmen at a supposedly 'Catholic' college -- debating whether or not sodomy is a violation of celibacy. This is not something that can be reasonably debated among those who accept Church teaching.  Here:

The Code of Canon Law requires that “Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity” (No. 277).

The key word here is 'continence.' Distinguish the following sorts of continence: mental (control of thoughts), emotional (control and custody of the heart), sensory-appetitive (custody of the eyes together with sexual restraint).  One of the main reasons that celibacy is enjoined is because spiritual realities cannot be descried by those enslaved to their lusts. Can you imagine your parish priest talking like this?

Now ask yourself whether the practice of sodomy is an expression of continence.  The question answers itself. Not only is the act a violation of continence, but planning and entertaining the act in thought is also a violation of continence, even if the act is never committed. For either way there is a failure to contain the 'outward flow' even it is merely on the intentional plane, the plane of thought.  Cf. MT 5:28: "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (KJV) That holds a fortiori if the object of lust is a man.  As I interpret the teaching, it is not the passing desire that is sinful, but its elaboration in thought, its hospitable entertainment, the scheming of a sodomite like McCarrick, for example, as he plans his seduction of an innocent and trusting boy.

Another form of "sterile sex" would be 'intercourse' with an inflatable doll or (nowadays) a sexbot. Certainly the rectories of the land should be supplied with such dolls and robots since 'intercourse' with them is surely no violation of celibacy.

And then there is that form of "sterile sex" called masturbation. If buggery is part of healthy priestly formation (see first quotation above), then there could be no objection to masturbation which is of course officially condemned, (See Catechism #2352 or, for that matter, something even worse, bestiality. (About which the disgraced former senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, joked.)

I spoke above of what can and cannot be reasonably debated among those who accept Church teaching. Here may lie the nub of the problem. These so-called priests don't accept it. Maybe they did at first, but then they became secularized and the Unseen Order disappeared from view (to put it oxymoronically).  In plain English, God and the soul and the whole soteriological point of the Church became unreal to them. But they didn't have the courage to go out into the world and get a real job. So they 'reformed' the Church in their own corrupt image.   After all, their lifestyle is 'cushy' and you can dress up and parade around -- in a manner that gives new meaning to "don we now our gay apparel" -- and even earn or rather get some respect even if it is only from children, old ladies, and womanish men.  And then there there is that organizational ladder to climb and the power and perquisites that go with it. Hell, you may even get a red hat!

The 'reform' then, takes the form of a secularization, or a temporalization. The Church, which is supposed to mediate between Eternity and Time, analogously as Christ the God-Man mediates between God and Man, is reduced to a purely temporal power or rather a 'hustle' or ecclesial cosa nostra that yet mendaciously continues to promote itself as being true to its tradition with its ultimate anchor in the Eternal. Under Bergoglio the Leftist, the Church of Rome transmogrifies into a sort of environmental protection agency that attacks capitalism (the one economic system that actually works and improves the human lot) and that also advances the cause of 'migrants' no matter how destructive of civilization they might be, a civilization that the Church has built and maintained over the centuries, but is not willing to defend against Muslim iconoclasts and barbarians.

('Migrant' is a marvellously obfuscatory term since it manages to elide two important distinctions at once, the distinction between immigrants and emigrants and the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.)

To sum up. I am pointing to a fact and offering an explanation, or at least part of one. The fact is that the Church hardly exists any longer as she was founded to be. The explanation is that the inordinate raging of our natural concupiscence which has been with us since the Fall and has been kept in check to some extent has now been unleashed and potentiated by our technology of life-extension, birth control, and world-wide communication.  Our 24-7, narcissistic, chit-chat connectivity is like a Faraday cage shielding us from influences from beyond the human horizon.  But the comparison breaks down: the influences from beyond are benign unlike the electrostatic and electromagnetic signals that threaten our 'devices.'

But the point is clear: our incredible technology leads to a super-secularization that makes it impossible except for a few to take seriously the idea that there could be anything beyond the human horizon. The Unseen Order (James) with the Unseen Warfare (Scupoli) that transpires there is no longer believable by modern man under his secularized, sex-saturated blanket, where with a few keystrokes he can bring before himself an endless supply of the most vile pornography imaginable.