Thursday, November 04, 2010

Pray for The Crescat...

...AND ME TOO.

The intention is for finding a spouse, which is a brutally difficult proposition if you are serious about finding the right person — and avoiding divorce, which happens to be what I've always worried about.

See Kat's article “and thus concludes my experiment...” and “let me rephrase that...”, where she discusses her seeming failure to find Mr. Crescat.

It is tough out there. Our culture now recognizes marriage merely as a legal matter, which may or may not have some religious trappings associated with it. A wedding is often seen as a big occasion to party, and as any pastor knows, those who are most demanding regarding a wedding also happen to be those who are least seen in church at any other time. Marriage has been trivialized, something that is gotten into — and out of — on a whim. Our culture says marriage is temporary.

One of the noxious theories of political life is the analogy of a swinging pendulum, where the laws and government swing back and forth from one extreme to the other. While this is indeed seen in practice, this is due to the fact that evil is often found in opposites: the people or government tire of one vice and instead choose to embrace the opposite vice. Few people care to find the truth of virtue, nor do they steer the Ship of State in that direction. Small groups take all they can, until overthrown.

Radical feminists did indeed find vices in our culture — real or imagined — but many were actual vices. Heresies from 400 years ago crystallized in American culture, where women were seen as inferiors and laws and customs limited their livelihood. But let us consider who the core feminists actually are:
  1. Lesbians
  2. Prostitutes
  3. Marxists
These categories are by no means mutually exclusive. The latter group, of course, cares nothing of women, but merely wield them as weapons to be used to change society.

So why should these small groups have an overwhelming influence on society? That is appalling.

The former group is the most strident, but they were also harmed the most under the old régime. Consider a society that holds marriage in such high esteem that it imposes it on its members. Certainly that is an injustice; but America was a place of shotgun weddings and extreme social pressure for every woman to be married, whether or not she wanted it — and of course, many of their unfortunate husband's lives were turned into Purgatory on Earth. We had a situation where even unwanted marriages were encouraged, coupled with severe divorce laws that made getting out of marriage quite difficult; obviously that was a system that was unstable and bound to break. Please note that Feminism got its start, freely and openly, in heretical places like the United States and northern Europe, and was spread to more orthodox countries by force.

Although divorce is now seemingly easy — no-fault they call it — it encourages deception and brutally tears apart families, causing untold misery. Worse misery, in many cases, than even bad marriages? I cannot judge, but it isn't good, particularly for children.

Marriage is not for everyone, and undue pressure for marriage is harmful as we have seen. A man and woman, truly in love and with high regard for the wellbeing of the other, will naturally cleave together in a bond unbreakable by nothing but death. That is what we have to encourage, not merely the desired effect of this bond, which is a lawful marriage. We have to put first things first. Marriage is just not an acceptable option for some women, and they ought to be free to go on without having to get married.

But there are other reasons not to get married, and the highest and best reason is the pursuit of religious life. Celibacy is hated by the secular world: for example, priests were forced to marry during the French Revolution, or they were murdered with religious sisters in vile “Republican marriages”. American culture likewise does not understand celibacy and despises it, as we see daily in the secular press. The rejection of celibacy led to the overemphasis of marriage, which as we see has very bad consequences.

The push for so-called gay marriage is partially to provide a veil of respectability, but is most often due to laws which make marriage desirable, particularly inheritance laws as well as other tax benefits. But shouldn't we question the inheritance and tax laws, and not the marriage laws? Aren't the tax laws the problem here? Why should taxes be so high as to encourage people into otherwise unwanted marriage? Do members of same-sex so-called marriage really want to be in that state if divorce laws become severe again? Do they really want to be respectable?

Our society is poison, but what should someone do if they seek a good spouse? Hilary has some observations in her article “How to get married”, and her advice is that dating is stupid. She offers more concrete advice from a traditional rabbi who comes from a culture that happens to have an excellent track record for happy marriages. Catholicism, traditionally understood, has some strong parallels, but these have not yet been recovered, yet we still can have hope.

10 comments:

  1. Mark......I love your photographs,St Louis and the churhes of the diocese. But this post is just over the top...Lesbians,Prostitutes and Marxists. Good luck finding a wife....as a married man of 32 years I can tell you that it is never perfect but a day by day walk through life, I am not sure you are capable of that kind of compromise...........

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  2. Mark, your characterization of "core feminists" is demonstrably wrong and offensive, your acknowledgement of the inequality of American society's traditional norms towards women is grudging, and your association of post-Revolution French secular laws with today's American secular society is, at best, odd. I love your site, and feel you generously offer an outreach ministry to people who may not otherwise find their way to some traditional Catholic expressions. But please be careful with your reasoning and your language; it's a responsibility you've taken on that is ill-served by ad hominem attacks and name-calling, under the guise of defending Christian values. Take care - if this is how you express your search for love in today's world, maybe your placing blame externally requires more consideration. Peace.

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  3. Weren't you there, don't you remember? 1968-1972? Don't you remember the nightly newscasts, and the relentless propaganda within popular culture throughout the '70s? Haven't you studied feminist history? I stand by my categories; look at the biographies of leading feminists of the 1950s-1970s era as well as those of the Victorian age. The feminist revolution was not ordinary women rising up, overthrowing their oppressors, rather it was a radical vanguard group who gained power and got laws and customs changed, and this was largely done within a framework of class conflict as found in Marxist theory. Ordinary women did eventually fall in line, but largely because many thought they were doing what was expected of them. Somewhere along the line, men became emasculated, but that is a topic for another day.

    Regarding myself, I tend not to be drawn to women who have a traditional mainstream American Protestant viewpoint, and certainly not to a woman who always seeks the current fashions — either in style or in philosophy. What is up-to-date will soon be out-of-date. Even when I was a Protestant myself, I found myself drawn to women who had a bit of an older worldview: these were Catholic, Jewish, or Eastern Orthodox.

    Unfortunately, I bought the poison of our current age and wasted my prime years on my career, and never bothered to look for a good woman to marry until after my career ended suddenly. A major problem I now find is that many women within my age range are not free to marry in the Catholic Church, thanks to the culture of divorce brought about by the sexual revolution, and yes, the feminist movement. Weak and fluid family structures, of course, are a prime feature of our current age, which is why marriage as an institution is very sick: however, many want to completely kill it off.

    I do think that a hatred of religious celibacy seen in modern philosophies is a major influence on all this, which could use some more investigation. The ideals of the revolutions past still have some present currency - just look what is taught in college, for example, especially regarding the history of ideas.

    Kestrel, congratulations on your long marriage. I hope it remains lasting, and that both of you are happy. In your charity, could you offer a prayer for me, for my intention? Perhaps just one Hail Mary, and perhaps also ask for the intercession of Blessed Seelos? Thank you very much.

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  4. I can and I will, though I am humble enough to realize that a single prayer from me will not really assist you in your search. Remember that many great movements were lead by very radical thinkers and the ultimate outcome was a compromise mucher closer to the "middle".

    Because of my age I remember the women, mothers, grandmothers prior to the movement and I know my wife, mother and others of today who are much better equipped to navigate in todays world because of the movement ultimately settling somewhere in what I perceive to be the middle.
    You will find a woman that will be willing to meet you somewhere near the middle if you keep looking.

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  5. Mark -- I got married at 40, after having officially given up on the search. Shortly after telling one of my dear lady friends that I had given up (a friend who knew someone who she thought was right for me). You never know what's around the corner. I am very glad that I decided not to compromise on my standards. I will remember you in my prayers.

    E.C.

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  6. Mark, I was there. You're cherry picking to prove yourself right, and focusing on the Marxist orientation of some academic feminists in a particular time frame while skirting my concerns about your smearing the leaders of the women's movement with a snide attack at their being lesbians and prostitutes as well.

    I say "snide" because of the implication that a fight for civil rights would be undermined by such characteristics, even if they were true. I think I understand your stance, and respect it. I just prefer not to be silent when the historical record - and a diverse group of leaders who made lasting contributions to women's rights - are insulted for the convenience of an argument that starts to sound cranky by over-insistence. It lacks the humane quality of your work.

    But all of this is rather beside the point. I love your site not because of your politics, and I enjoy hearing your views with the exception of hurtful generalizations.

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  7. I'm absolutely with Kestrel and Keith on this! I'm a single (never married), conservative, reasonably attractive, well educated, 40-something Catholic woman who lives in St. Louis and is a big fan of your photography. In other words, I'd say we have a lot in common, yet I’m completely put off by this post.

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  8. Anonymous,

    My dating past was largely based on chemistry, and not shared interests. Eyes meeting across the room... unconscious body language... flirtation... in other words, on reasons considerably less than those of the angels, and more closer to the animals. As you are posting anonymously (not sure how that works... I specifically set blogger not to allow anonymous comments) I have no evidence to show that we could be a good couple, but you never know. My interests tend to be quite obscure, so finding someone with shared interests is quite uncommon, although perhaps I ought to pursue that more.

    I have a melancholic temperament, and tend to plumb deeply into the world of ideas. I am deeply affected by those ideas which lead people to harm themselves, their relationships, and society -- and feminism as expressed since the 1960s demonstrably is one of those ideas. But in real life I am a pussycat. I like people and never chastise them unless they really go beyond the pale. People generally consider me to be extremely congenial; I'm up for anything and hardly ever make demands on my companions. My attitude with friends is "whatever": companionship is more important than getting what I want.

    In the distant past, I actually have dated avowed feminists, which was totally wild, but having few shared interests made those relationships doomed from the start. And as I like passionate, dedicated women, their strong views mean that they will never change, nor will I, and so it is best to find a woman whose passions are similar to mine to begin with.

    There are right-wing feminists these days: these women are usually motivated by financial success. Now I like exotic automobiles, elegant dress, and fine food and wine, and so this kind of woman has a certain appeal to me, but I learned through experience that their liking of *me* was often predicated on how successful *I* was... and when I lost good fortune, I lost a number of these friends. Read Boethius for an explanation.

    The long illness and tragic death of my girlfriend Lisa has put a damper on my desire to find a good woman for the past several years. I'd rather spend time in contemplation. Life is short and very precious.

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  9. Am I still single? Why yes I am. How about you?

    Unfortunately, to the heathens who believe all this modern garbage, we are far too pious, while those who walk the walk more than just talk the talk, we are far too heathen. Sad.

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