Charlie's Blog: Lust



You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.

Lust is perhaps the most favorite of the deadly sins. At one time, the pornography industry generated more revenue than Hollywood. Now that the internet makes pornography free and ubiquitous, the porn industry has fallen on hard times. The pornographers undoubtedly yearn for the good ol' days when folks like Jerry Falwell made porn hard to get but lucrative. Lust seems like something natural, but it is a destructive sin causing more heartbreak and impoverished children than any other sin.

I was struck by this while watching a YouTube video of a fellow giving his reasons for getting a vasectomy at a young age despite not having children. He showed children sleeping on the streets in Bangkok. Clearly, all children have a father at conception, but they tend to disappear after that. This vasectomized man strikes me as an atheist, but I can agree with his point that sex has consequences that affect others than just yourself.

The whole point of a man getting a vasectomy is to enjoy the satisfaction of his lust without any of the consequences. The sad thing is that he has also cut off the joy that fatherhood can bring when it is pursued in the context of holy matrimony. But this arrangement requires chastity, fidelity, and responsibility. Men are not interested in these things today. Sadly, many women don't seem interested in them either.

Talk of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and ruined relationships ending in break up and divorce don't really get to the heart of the matter with lust. When we think of lust, we think primarily of the body, but lust does its greatest damage to the soul. Even someone who is outwardly chaste can be consumed by lust and be even more depraved than a womanizer. This would be the vile person who indulges in child pornography. Lust is not just a physical depravity but also a mental and spiritual depravity.

Lust is essentially the reduction of another person in either thought or deed to being merely an object of pleasure. In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus not only affirms the Mosaic teaching on adultery but increases it to include lustful thoughts. The strong words about cutting off the right hand or putting out your eye seems directed especially at the masturbator and the peeping tom. People who view pornography may think they are in the clear because their crime is "victimless," but they are causing their own souls to be cast into Hell. Much of the shame on Judgment Day will come when the secret vices of people are brought into the light.

I was conversing with an adulterer not long ago, and we were talking about adultery and lust. He tried to make the case that men have needs that have to be gratified. I asked him what he would do if he had just a crust of bread between him and his daughter, and they were starving. "I would give her the bread and do without," he said. My response was this. If you can do without food that you need to survive for the sake of your daughter, why can't you do without sex on the side for her sake and the sake of her mother? That was the end of the conversation.

Chastity is seen today as the perversion while perversion is now seen as normal and healthy. Any restriction placed on this is held as being virtually criminal. To be celibate is to be a deviant in the mindset of modernism. We have Sigmund Freud to thank for this as his teachings on repression have led people to believe that sexual restraint leads to pathology. If you don't indulge those passions, they will build up inside of you like a pressure cooker until they explode. This idea is an error.

Lust grows with indulgence. It is like a fire that must be constantly fed to remain alight. Pardon me for being graphic here, but porn stars take viagra in order to be able to perform. Their bodies cannot keep pace with their lust. Greater levels of depravity must be attained to experience the thrill in much the same way heroin addicts take larger and larger doses until they overdose and die. Inevitably, the person with lust ends up in the forbidden zone of murder. This would be the Marquis de Sade, Jack the Ripper, and Ted Bundy.

Lust seeks to consume, devour, and dispose of the other person. At some point, sex is left in the rearview mirror as murder becomes the more thrilling element. People who indulge in lust and porn will deny this, but why does porn become so violent? Why is there ultimately bondage, sadism, and rape scenarios? This is the dark path.

Not everyone who indulges their lust become serial killers. This is because murder is against the law. But in their hearts, those who burn with lust seek to deface the image of God in others. They can't kill or destroy, so they settle for humiliation and degradation. On the flip side, many of the people suffering the degradation find some perverse pleasure in it enjoying the humiliation of being tied up and whipped. This is because they seek to deface the image of God in themselves.
                                                                                                                                                                    Lust can also be present in a marriage. You, Gentle Reader, may be apoplectic at this moment at such an idea. But marriage is not some open field of indulgence where every perversion and whim can be explored and satisfied. Sad to say, this notion is popular among many Protestants who equate a marriage license with a hunting license where it is fine to shoot a duck or deer within season and not over a baited field. But marriage should be based on love and respect and not recreation or perversion. A husband who humiliates his wife in the bedroom is no different and can even be worse than the man who visits a prostitute. And the sad thing is that many wives feel compelled to compete with their husbands' porn addictions and indulge his depraved inclinations. This is a grievous sin.

It is also well known that the Catholic Church does not allow artificial birth control. Many myths have popped up over this as if the Church is somehow only interested in getting converts through birth. But this misses the big picture entirely. As Blessed Pope Paul VI wrote in Humanae Vitae,
It is a love which is total — that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner’s own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.
Artificial birth control allows for the dehumanization of the wife as she is now turned from a mother into a sex machine meant to serve the pleasures of the husband whenever and wherever. This is evil. Critics will say that Natural Family Planning is no different than artifical borth control, but it is different. NFP requires communication and discipline and restraint where artifical birth control makes the wife available 24/7. Conversely, artificial means of fertility such as in vitro fertilization and the like turns women into mere breeders valued only for what they can produce sort of like a farm animal. A wife is neither a cow nor a whore. Yet, modern contraception and fertility make both possible.

There are also avenues of lust that are utterly forbidden in any context. The most popular at this moment would be those with same sex attraction. The Catechism states that homosexual inclinations are inherently disordered. My personal opinion is that homosexuality is the perversion of that love known as friendship. In this context, both heterosexuals and homosexuals deal with the same temptations. Extramarital relations of any type are disordered. They run contrary to God's plan.

I also must add a note on the importance of modesty. We live in a culture today where dress leaves little to the imagination. To dress provocatively is sinful. We would condemn someone who wore a confederate flag shirt to a civil rights march, but we seem to not apply the same logic when women wear skimpy clothes in public places. As one woman put it bluntly, "Don't advertise what you're not selling."

Modesty is not meant to demean or degrade women like some Islamist burka. Instead, modesty elevates a woman and gives her a dignified place of honor and respect. By practicing modesty, women live in imitation of the Blessed Mother who was modest and chaste. This should also be a spur to men to treat all women with the same respect they give to the Mother of God.

My own thinking has changed considerably on this as I embrace more fully the teachings of chivalry. It is popular to think that chivalry is dead, but it isn't dead for me. Chivalry is what turned sword wielding rapist barbarians into the knights that fought for a lady's honor. It sickens me to see how men treat women today. As one fellow put it, "I'll start treating them like ladies when they start acting like ladies." Naturally, this came from the mouth of a despicable person who thought of women as nothing more than creatures that existed for the satisfaction of his lust. I wonder if he would feel the same way if his mother or sisters were treated this way.

I treat all women with the same respect that is due to the Blessed Mother. This would include the streetwalking prostitute. Just like doing unto the poor is doing unto Jesus Himself, how you treat women is how you treat the Virgin Mary. All men will be held to account for this. This is the essence of chivalry. It is sad that so many Protestants have demoted Mary to some minor character in the Bible because they end up doing the same to all women by extension. The honor and respect that feminists seek is found in this Marian ideal, but they would have to be Christian and Catholic to claim it. But you only have to be a woman to get that respect from me. Mary undid what Eve did. By her, salvation came into the world. Venerate the Blessed Mother, and your lust will be tamed. Your conscience will burn in you when you look with lust at some woman. You will see in all women a reflection of the Queen of Heaven, and you will honor them because you love the Mother of our Savior.