Ok, if you’re reading this, remember this is my first impressions upon reading only part of the letter, I’ll write again when I actually get to read the whole thing.
I have to admit all I want to do is roll my eyes so far. Seriously, just blame the whole thing on artists and the sexual revolution. I am so tired of people blaming everything wrong on single events. The traditionalists blame pretty much everything sinful on Vatican II, the liberals blame everything on guns, the list goes on and on of people blaming the huge problems of the world on one thing. What’s even worse is that the event is usually something that was intending to change something for the better.
Let’s just assume all of Pope Benedict’s complaints about the sexual revolution and the resulting sex and violence in film are legitimate. Even if he is correct about all of them, he is still throwing everything good that came with those things out, and especially their intentions.
Goethe wrote a book called The Sorrows of Young Werther. The book was about the dangers of romanticism(a tradition of literature that was heavily influenced by emotions.) The main character ends up committing suicide because he is carried away by his emotions. The point of the book is to show how dangerous romanticism can be if it is unchecked. So what happened in the wake of it’s release? People started committing suicide dressed like Werther. That was the exact thing that Goethe was trying to avoid, but he got decried basically because of the stupid people who didn’t get the point.
Still, artists get blamed for the results of their art no matter what they were intending to do, unless of course they are squeaky clean purist didactic church movies. This is, of course, something that just infuriates me. If the Bible has to be submitted to the rules these people put forth, it would fail over and over and over and over again. There is rape, incest, violence, orgies, human sacrifice, witchcraft, pagan worship, and more. Yet, the same people who call this “The Good Book” claim that art cannot have any of these things. So the Bible can but only because it’s The Bible.(Which brings up the other part of the Pope Emeritus’ letter that infuriates me which is the condescending argument against the philosophy that “the end justifies the means.”)
This drives me crazy. The people in favor of the sexual revolution condemn the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church condemns them, but if the Catholic Church could recognize some of the good that was brought about by the sexual revolution we could build towards a compromise that would help everyone. Instead, he is throwing around blame like a small child. This will never help anyone. It is just adding to division in the world.
Now, some of my Catholic friends are probably horrified because about now they think I am saying that pornography addiction is good and we should all have orgies until the whole world is Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, ok, I love sex, but no, that is not what I am saying.
What I am saying is that I am extremely grateful for the sexual revolution. I am in the unique position of having lived so sheltered and traditional Catholic that I experienced life in the pre-sexual revolution existence and I grew up and left home and got a quick introduction into a different kind of world.
Let me tell you the changes I saw that were positive and incredibly important:
1. Women are now able to learn about and talk about sex which prevents men abusing them. (Don’t tell me this doesn’t happen because of a lack of education because it does. I saw it.)
2. People are able to discuss sex and sexuality, which means that we can enrich marriages and make them happier
3. We are now able to explore the impact of sexuality and violence on our lives in art, and considering that these two things are probably the most intense experiences of life, that is crucial to being able to express the truth of reality which is why the Bible would probably not even be able to be rated if it were made into a movie because it’s so horrifying at parts.
My point in bringing these things up, is that in vilifying those he doesn’t agree with, Pope Benedict is immediately turning off anyone who values the sexual revolution and anything resulting from it. That is not the way to heal the deep and profound wounds in the Church. “Oh it’s not our fault. It’s yours because you talk about sex.”
Are you kidding me?
It’s divisive, petty, and it belittles the problem to a degree that infuriates me.
So….yeah….now I’ll read the rest of it ASAP and get back to you about the rest. So far I am less than thrilled. Obviously.