Human Life Education

Chapter Seven: How Beautiful The Chaste Generation With Glory

By Fr. Anthony Zimmerman

Well do I remember the day in freshman high school at, St. Boniface, Westphalia, Iowa, when the pastor walked into the assembly hall, lightning flashing from his eyes, and called all classes together. Bells clanged, announcements were made, and we marched dutifully out of the various classrooms into the large hall, tense now with forebodings of trouble. Tall and erect, in cassock girt with a belt of leather, with tasseled biretta as symbol of his authority, the pastor intoned: "How beautiful the chaste generation with glory. It is beholden both to God and to man." For a half hour he spoke about the beauty of chastity. He didn't even mention the sleigh ride party of the evening before. The long hill with hard snow was perfect for high speed racing, the rider prone on his sled, maneuvering with the guider, kicking to gain speed. We had heard about the rumor: some boy and girl prone on the same sled.

What else Father Duren told us that morning over seventy years ago I have forgotten. His attitude said it all. He cared. He was stern. He stood straight as an arrow, spoke from the heart, austere as Elijah. He expected us to be chaste. He did not scold. He shamed us about sins against chastity by singing the beauty and nobility of the queen of virtues. Chaste conduct was convincingly, firmly, resolutely upheld as the norm for all students at St. Boniface School.

Boys, whose sexual organs mature with adolescence, will have wet dreams beginning at a certain age. Girls will see their bodies change and experience menstruation. Long before they are ready for marriage, they will need to deny themselves wilful indulgence in gratifying sexual pleasures. To deny themselves this pleasure for the time being is the great single challenge which all normal boys and girls cope with during adolescence. Disciplined denial of selfish indulgence is also the most powerful dynamic by which adolescents build strong characters. The boy who waits grows swiftly into manhood. The girl who keeps herself intact today is a lady tomorrow.

Those who indulge wilfully to some extent lose, to some extent, precious benefits available from this program for growth which nature and God provide. Self control during adolescence is perhaps the chief dynamism by which humans extract themselves out of the world of animal instinct to become free and noble characters. If they are honest with themselves by not indulging wilfully in sexual pleasure, alone or with another, when the battle is difficult but they remain true, they grow in freedom and in all the virtues. They will be honest people, will not lie about having axed the cherry tree, will not pass bogus checks, will not drink before getting into the pilot seat of a 747. Those who abandon themselves to instinct during adolescence tend to become its slaves. Character growth is inhibited, and they may remain play boys and play girls though their bodies have the appearance of adulthood.

They eyes of young men and women at Sophia University in Tokyo sparkled when Mother Teresa spoke:

That you love a girl, or that you love a boy, is beautiful. But do not spoil it. Do not destroy it. Don't destroy until God joins you together. Keep it pure. Keep your heart virgin. Keep your love virgin so that on the day of your marriage, you can give something really beautiful to each other, the joy of pure love. And if mistakes happen, do not destroy the child. Help each other to want to that child, to accept the child, the unborn. Do not destroy. Get people to help you and you will be able to face God with clean hearts, face each other with clean hearts. To face your family with a clean heart because one mistake should not be followed with another evil. To destroy the unborn child is an evil. You are all young, you have your futures. You have a new life before you. May it a point that on the day of your marriage, on the day of your consecration, whatever way God calls you, that you give a virgin heart. A pure heart. A heart full of love, full of joy, full of peace. My prayer for you is that you learn to love one another like that, with respect, with great love (Address, April 26, 1981).

On her second trip to Japan, sponsored again by the Japan Family Life Association, we asked her about fostering purity and virginity. Her response:

I think if we could teach our young girls the beauty of purity, the beauty of virginity, that would already help to preserve the gift of God. It is necessary to help our young men and our young women to respect each other and not to use each other before they are married. But if they use each other before I think that immediately respect for life is taken away. That is not love any more; it is passion. And that child has to suffer (abortion) on account of that passion of the parents.

Her earnest words, spoken with captivating voice, made powerful through her characteristic, intense and clairvoyant love, have surely helped many young listeners in Japan to save their virginity until they could present it to their partner at the time of marriage.

Molding The Brain for Chastity

The part of the brain of Homo Sapiens which processes thought is species specific for man. Here spiritual thought and free will decisions interface with neurological switchboards. As I noted in my book Evolution and the Sin in Eden (University Press of America, 1999), the human neocortex or forebrain is developed far beyond the diminutive counterparts in mammals and other animals. It is the main physical organ which the soul operates, like a skilled piano player, to do its thinking, its speaking, and other voluntary behavior. The forebrain, however, does not operate independently of the midbrain and the stembrain, but always in fully integrated coordination with them. The brain is one integrated functioning unit. The emotive midbrain, as well as the basic life ganglia of the stembrain, must support the forebrain to capacitate it functioning as the instrument of the soul to do its thinking and its voluntary actions. The forebrain cannot operate by itself, without the combined assistance of the midbrain as a working partner, and of the stembrain as the supplier of life energy. The entire brain family must be present and in operation if the soul is to do conscious thinking and willing with the forebrain as its instrument.

But the midbrain, which is the brain which houses feelings and emotions, is different. It can operate without the neo-cortex. We can emote without thinking. However, the midbrain cannot operate without input from the stembrain. We cannot emote with the midbrain unless the basic ganglia keep us alive by operating the vital functions.

The stembrain can keep us alive by itself, even when the two higher brain compartments are asleep or out of action. We have, therefore, three brain compartments, the rational forebrain, the emotive midbrain, and the vital stembrain.

The Sex Drive, Bridge from Neocortex to the Limbic System

Jerome Lejeune notes that the forebrain projection of the genital organs is at the upper extremity of the Rolando fissure in the interhemispheric surface, very close to the midbrain. It is therefore the one and only cortical representation to be in contact with the midbrain locale of emotions; this is the crossroads of the drives needed for the preservation of life (hunger, thirst, aggression) and the drives needed for the preservation of the species (reproduction, protection of the young, love). It follows that we are so constituted that whatever concerns genital activity involves also moral activity, neurologically speaking.

That is, moral action housed in the forebrain is connected by the gateway of the Rolando fissure to the midbrain which houses the feelings and emotions. But the sex drive is the gateway, the traffic light, situated in the brain at the passageway from the thinking brain to the emotive brain. The policeman who controls the sex drive first of all, thereby operates the switchboard of all the other cerebral emotional activities as well. This points to the impossibility of mastering emotional behavior if we do not first master conscious and deliberate genital behavior (cf. Lejeune, "Is there a natural morality?" in Linacre Quarterly, 1989).

Professor Lejeune here makes the significant observation that voluntary sexual discipline is the gateway through which we must pass to take control of emotional life. The very important conclusion follows that one who governs his sexual appetite reasonably well is thereby in the key position to control all the emotions. He will likely also control fairly well greed, envy, anger, love, hatred, sadness. Children grow into adulthood mainly by disciplining themselves in proper sexual behavior.

The intense struggle to control the emerging sex drive which every boy and girl experience during the process of growing to maturity is a moral necessity imposed by God and nature. Temptations are strong, keen, lasting, sometimes unexpected, utterly flattering to heart and mind. Years of struggle does not tame them. Yet by mastering them with firm and constant resolve - and by rising again and again after a fall - we acquire the bonus reward of tempering all our other natural drives in tandem with the sex drive.

This indicates how very beneficial it is for adolescents to be educated in chastity and encouraged to practice it with unbending resolve. It also indicates how great is the evil of those who scandalize youth by imparting sex education in a manner which arouses passions and inculcates no values. That is the great betrayal imposed upon our youth by those who teach sex education without morals, in a titillating and pornographic manner, and without control by moral values. Planned Parenthood and sex-educators running amuck in schools mess up not only the lives of youth, but crank up crime statistics thereby in the nation. They fire up the sex drive to the boiling point in youths, and damage their entire emotive brain by this over-heating of the sex drive. If sex is whipped up to be wild and savage in school, the young man and woman graduating are apt to be wild and savage all over.

If adolescents do not make efforts to hold the sex drive in check, they fail to form strong moral characters during these precious years of growth. If society cannot depend on educators to help the young to discipline themselves in sexual matters, society as whole will pay the price by becoming a firestorm of crime. Sex-ed done without moral training in schools is subversive activity designed to graduate playboys and girls and criminals alike. There will be marriages and divorces and re-marriages and then just live-ins without marriage. There will be out-of-wedlock pregnancies and school drop-outs and/or abortions. There will be pornography on the Internet and wolves baiting those still innocent. Undressed males will noisily shout their way into St. Patrick's parade on Fifth Avenue. Homosexuals will spread AIDS and brag about it.

Society as a whole enjoys distinct advantages when its members act reliably and responsibly: when airline pilots practice sobriety and work methodically to remain competent, when bankers are honest, when laborers do their job well. By stirring up unruly sex habits in youth, faulty sex educators tend to reduce virtue and reliability in the entire population of the next generation. We are all losers if a generation of juveniles do not learn to control their sex drive and thereby put a tight rein on other unruly tendencies of character.


oral Behavior Modifies Neural Automatisms

Dr. med. Josef Roetzer quotes the famous dictum that "the mind molds the brain" (see Humanae Vitae, p. 769). Brain researcher Wilder Penfeld had coined the phrase which calls attention to the fact that the brain is subject to physical alteration by the teaching that parents give to their children, and by the personal efforts which the child and the adult make. For the molding of the brain to facilitate the practice of virtue is a lifetime task, though it is enormously easier to start well, than to make adjustments and corrections later in life.

Nobel prize winner John C. Eccles spoke of a self conscious mind which acts as a liaison brain to then mold the organ of the brain which we possess (cf. Roetzer, 769). We might say that this "liaison brain" is our conscious effort, is the work of a midwife, to facilitate the birth of habits. In other words, the ideal which we set before the brain can be the blue print which guides and stimulates the brain to shape itself accordingly.

To learn the ten commandments from our parents, then, is an advantage which expedites and simplifies the proper formation of the brain of the child. And the child who has initially learned correct conduct from the parents, has the task of on-going formation which it must continue on its own.. (For the above, see also Zimmerman, 1999, pp. 114-132).

Why Unchaste Acts Are Mortal Sins

Adolescents who only recently experience growth toward sexual maturity may not always be immediately aware that indulgence in sexual pleasure is grave matter; if persons do this with adequate knowledge and freedom it is a mortal sin. They may arrive at this awareness only after some experimentation. The good confessor will help to set their minds straight.

We ask why each and every deliberate act of indulgence in sexual pleasure is necessarily a grave matter, forbidden necessarily by nature and by the God of nature with the censure and punishment due to mortal sin. Saint Thomas Aquinas, greatest philosopher of all times, explains that the ban must be absolute and under serious obligation in order to preserve the common welfare of the human race. Unless deliberate sexual pleasure is reserved for the marital state, and there alone done in the natural manner, the pillars of civilization and of human welfare cannot stand.

The licit use of sex has strings attached to it, according to the teaching of St. Thomas. God allows the use of sex only on condition that humans pay two fees attached to it. The first fee is legitimate and lifelong marriage. The second fee is non-interference in the natural outcome of marital intercourse. Humans are bound to observe these conditions - to pay these dues - which are essential for the welfare of mankind:

The more necessary a thing is, the more it behooves one to observe the order of reason in its regard; wherefore the more sinful it becomes if the order of reason is forsaken. Now the use of venereal acts ... is most necessary for the common good, namely the preservation of the human race. Wherefore there is the greatest necessity for observing the order of reason in this matter: so that if anything may be done in this connection against the dictate of reason's ordering, it will be a sin (Summa Theologia II,II,153,3).

Thomas observes that fornication, adultery, seduction, incest, sacrilege (sex involving a consecrated person) are against the dictates of reason on the one hand, and against the common good of the race on the other. The same applies to those vices which Thomas calls unnatural, against nature: masturbation, that is, procuring the pleasure without copulation; also bestiality, homosexuality, and finally "not observing the natural manner of copulation;" by this last the offender intends pleasure though acts from which human generation cannot follow (cf. ST II,II,154,11).

To repeat: Thomas implies that the ban against contraception - against acts from which human generation cannot follow - is necessary for two reasons. On the one hand because it is not in harmony with reason, with man as the image of God; it is unnatural, unreasonable, and contrary to our rational exigency which flows from our nature; and on the other hand, the ban is also necessary to uphold the welfare of the human race. Let us dwell on the latter a bit more.

By permitting sex only within marriage, and by excluding misuse of sex therein, God structures the existence and harmony of marriage and family life. In families thus formed in harmony with the sex drive, husband and wife establish a stable union characterized by mutual love, esteem, and support, and their children can be born and raised in a nurturing social atmosphere. Man and woman find fulfillment there, and preserve and enhance their dignity and their conjugal satisfaction. To do so they must ban from their marriage two destructive enemies: extra-marital affairs and contraception.

The ban on mutual abuse of sex within marriage supports God's plan to populate the earth through sufficient offspring. Indeed, the preservation of the human species depends greatly upon human faithfulness in observing the prohibition against contraception. We see in the statistics of nations which now practice contraception excessively, due to perverted media propaganda and to misconceived government policies, that births of children in these nations are now insufficient to replace the adult generations. These populations are aging, and if the trend continues, they are all on the way to eventual extinction.

Scientists Anthony Brown and Richard Reeves cited the notorious statement that Paul Erlich made in 1968 that "we will breed ourselves into oblivion" by overpopulation followed by hunger and catastrophe. "Thirty years later, demographers say he is right - but not in the way he expected." Population growth has declined so sharply in the world that all forecasts are downgraded from the past. The Japan Ministry of Health and Welfare made a calculation based on current trends: "If we dare make the calculation, Japan's population will be ...about 500 people by the year 3000." When the calculation is continued until the year 3500, only one person remains alive in Japan and "when that person dies, the Japanese nation will be no more." UN forecasts indicate that Europe and Japan will lose half their population by the year 2100 (From The Observer,quoted in Japan Times,August 10, 1999).

When current trends are calculated in this strictly mathematical manner, the end looms into sight: no more people on the earth. But national figures obscure the fact that there are large families within the nation as well as small families and childless families. The future population of the world will more likely come through the bottleneck of the larger families and take over territories vacated by less fertile families. The battle of the cradle is being won, in the long run, by families which do not practice contraception.

The institute of family life itself is also dependent essentially upon a universal law against contraception. For humans would lack a compelling interest to enter married life, and so to experience conjugal joys and pleasures therein, if sexual pleasure were licit without accompanying family obligations. But the basic cell of society is the family, and if that were to lose its raison d'etre, society would lose its source of demographic support. Moral approval of contraception would inevitably spell the end of society and of mankind.

Intercourse done in the natural manner is truthful communication which bonds husband and wife as conjugal partners via the language of the body. The ban on contraception, which is written indelibly into the human heart, allows this truthful communication to operate effectively to solidify family structure. Whereas a supposedly "licit" contraception would tend to alienate marital partners from each other because of the brutal lie in their bodily and spiritual communication. Even "licit" contraception, because of its in-built false communication, would subtly offend the perceived dignity of the partners resulting in mutual lack of esteem. Though perceived overtly as licit, it would still be contrary to truth felt in body and spirit, and so tend to unglue the bonding of contracepting partners. We see that divorce statistics exploded in the wake of Pill statistics in the USA. In 1960, before contraceptive Pills were available, there were 393,000 divorces; in 1975, after 15 years of Pill usage, there were 1,026,000 divorces, an explosion of divorce statistics by 260 percent during only fifteen years (see 1976 UN Demographic Yearbook, p. 639). This is not good propaganda for Pill usage.

"Licit contraception" - a contradiction in terms - would inevitably trivialize the deeper union of couples with nature and God. "Licit" contraception, if loosed upon mankind, would tend to deprive the loving family life where spouses are usually happy and supportative of each other, and where children enjoy a proper atmosphere for human upbringing.

By contraception a couple "cancels a plan which is a precise will of God; the plan of men whom God willed to create and which man vetoed" (Bishop C. Micci, see Kippley p. 136). The act of contraception, then, is an illicit veto issued by humans against the pre-arranged plan of God to create this and that individual. We cannot call this murder, since contraception does not kill what is not yet alive; rather we call it contraception because it counters and thwarts the plan of God to effectuate a conception on His own schedule, and according to His preferences and plans. Couples who procreate children with God, find union with God in the life-giving process to be a deep and comforting experience of oneness with Him and with nature. But contraception alienates couples from God and from harmony with nature, and leaves them with little joy and satisfaction in life. (Some parts of this chapter are quoted or cited from my book, Catholic Teachings on Pro-Life Issues, chapter on contraception, published by Humanae Vitae Research Institute, 1996).

In closing, we repeat the powerful message of my pastor, who spoke 70 years ago: "How beautiful the chaste generation with glory. It is beholden both to God and to man."

Next Page: Chapter 8: NFP and families
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