(as a side note, Father Powers was the priest that convinced my mom to go through the wedding to my father when everyone else thought it was a bad idea. And anyone who has followed this blog for a while knows my mom ended up leaving my father when she was pregnant with my sister, holding my little toddler hand! It was a mess. So there's that.)
Back in the 70s there was a big push to build the building and pay off the debt. My mother and Mr. Pete's parents donated generously of their time and money to make this happen and they did it because they thought we would be getting a top notch education as well as a great grounding in our Catholic Faith.
This is what we got:
It was about the people - God? Not so much. In fact he's not mentioned once.
Back in 2006 I wrote about my Catholic High School experience and how it prepared me as an adult Catholic.
I grew up in the 1970s, came of age in the late 70s and lived my early adult ife in the 1980s. We had all of the touchy, feely, "spiritual," experiential crapola that passed itself off as religion class masquerading under "the spirit of Vatican II." It didn't make us strong Christians or keep us in our Catholic faith. Instead we subscribed to the Jesus is my buddy, I'm OK, You're OK, lukewarm deadness that went with a faith that we weren't prepared to understand and had no clue about how to defend, let alone live. My sister left the church for a time, many of my classmates left too. I read my alumni news letter and I am not even clear any more if it is a Catholic School any more, if it ever was. I've met more than my share of bitter ex-Catholics on the internet and in real life. It doesn't take more than a few minutes to determine that their Catholic faith died because it wasn't taught logically or intellectually and most of them never saw it lived, not really. Not authentically.
And now I have proof that it wasn't just me and my sister and Mr. Pete that didn't get proper catachesis. My sister sent me this to rebutt - it came from an e-mail loop of people from her graduating class and I assume it is in response to the contraception controversy that is in the news.
I'm not going to pretend that you guys do not know where I stand on religion in general - but lets use some critical thinking skills and think about this for a moment. If "god" wanted women to become pregnant every time they had sexual intercourse - then he would have made that possible by making an egg available 30 days each month. Since "god" made women capable of being impregnated only roughly 7-10 days per month (lets call it 1/3rd of the time) and at the exact same time "god" gave people a sex drive that was "on" more or less the entire month (until marriage and kids that is) then one would have to assume that "god" did not care if people had sex when it did not lead to conception. Something as simple as a rash could have easily signaled that a female was fertile. But no - none of this was designed into humans. Men are driven to have sex virtually all of the time and women - while generally more interested while fertile - are also interested in sex even when not ovulating (possibly save the married and kids portion of life as mentioned above).
It seems very clear to me that we humans are designed to have sex. I suspect the reservations against pre-marital sex were originally to protect the offspring and to ensure that they would be cared for by a family rather than a single (i.e. 1/2 the resources) parent. Later - I suspect that having as many children as possible was simply a way to increase a churches membership numbers and maybe the amount of money that people would tithe to the church.
Having sex for enjoyment - without the likelihood of conception is a wonderful thing. I recommend it to all of you as often as possible. I suggest that you might want to free yourself of the ridiculous idea that sex is only for creation - because we all know that that is not truly the case. Besides - most of us are Catholic and may believe this way why? Simply because we were born into a family that was Catholic. No real conscious decision was made by most of us (Marja is a notable exception and while we seldom agree - I admire her for making a conscious decision about her religious affiliation) - and yet some of us will defend (to the death) the notion that by pure chance - they were born into the "true" and correct religion. A one in two thousand chance that some members of all 2000 religions are convinced of. Think about this with an open mind. That is what Powers taught us to do......
Now go have sex - and don't forget the contraceptives....
My rebuttal I sent sis:
Here is how I would reply -
I realize that our Catholic education at Powers in the late 1970s was sorely lacking. The bishops of that era will have a lot to answer for - the lack of catechesis and the lost generations that came after that will be one of them.
Fortunately in the early 90s the church finally got it together and came out with the Catechism of the Catholic Church - which as the late, great John Paul II said, "is the sure norm" for Catholics. In other words if you want to see what the Catholic Church really teaches, it's in the Catechism.
Yes you are correct about the sex drive and sexuality. God designed sex to be enjoyable and to be the ultimate expression of love and unity between man and wife. God also designed that union to be generous and life giving - just as God himself is generous and life giving. Yes, the man and the wife are to desire one another and express their love to one another in a generous and fully self-donating act of making love. And that love is to be so totally complete and life giving that a child may come from it - absolutely!!
If we are images of God, and if our goal is to be perfect as the Father is perfect and to be with Him someday in heaven, then it follows that we should try to view our sexuality as God does and to use it the way God intended - for the union of man and wife and for the begetting of children. And not just to fill up the church - but to fill the earth with people who know God and Love God and by extension love each other. And this was so important to God that he not only gives this command to our first parents, but reiterates it to Noah and his family after the great flood.
The Catholic Church - the defender of the faith and the deposit of the teachings of Christ - does not teach that sex is just for procreating children. Remember it teaches against many fertility treatments as well since that too is a distortion of the marital act.
You know, food is delicious and good for you too and most of us could eat anytime, anywhere as much as we want. That's called gluttony and it's a distortion of the purpose of food. Likewise sex acts that deliberately divide the pleasurable aspects from the unative and procreative are also distortions.
Lastly not all of us "cradle Catholics" went mindlessly into our adulthood, going to church simply because our parents did. Some of us spent some time in the wilderness, looking for something that made us feel better or seeking the truth about God and spirituality, only to find that we had it right from the start in the Catholic Church. If I ever found a truly compelling, persuasive and impeccable case against the Church, I'd leave - but so far everything I have heard or read has driven me closer to the heart of the church. So I guess I should thank you for that.