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The Word on the Week

Human Sexuality

The release of Chapter 19 of the Murphy Report has renewed the mental anguish for the many children Fr Tony Walsh sexually abused. Sadly some have committed suicide but the trail of misery does not end there it continues in the distorted sexual behaviour in many families throughout the land. It becomes the family secret. It haunts the lives of those affected. It becomes the pit from which there seems to be no escape. From whence came this convoluted sexuality? The failed sexual revolution of the sixties spawned the notion of “free love”. This proved to be neither love nor free but simply created the environment for lust to flourish. This was followed by “woman’s liberation”. The results were similar and whilst acknowledging it produced some benefits there has been a distortion of the female figure to that of a sex symbol. “Liberation” has become bondage to the fantasy of the beautiful body. This quest has been fuelled by newspapers, magazines, novels, film and TV. Each puts an increasingly high value on explicit sex to sell its product in this race to reach the lowest common denominator. But the breakthrough in the race to the bottom came with the internet. Previously you got what you bought but now you are in control; you can pick and choose your poison. Sexual addiction flourishes behind closed doors. The laptop in the bedroom or the iPod in the pocket need to be handled with self control – an ingredient which is in short supply these days. What help can the Bible offer? Muslim States have their own problems but they cannot understand how Christian countries can end up with the opposite values to Jesus Christ. His values of purity and self-control are scarce in our Western culture. It seems that having let the genie out of the bottle there is no way it can be returned. Saint Paul’s advice to young Timothy was to “flee youthful lusts” and in a wider context to the church at Rome, (as in J B Phillip’s paraphrase) “do not let the world squeeze you into its mould”. But who is listening? Perhaps it was like that at Ephesus where Saint Paul, (in chapter 4) makes a distinction between the non-believing Gentiles and the converts to Christ: “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” In verses 22/24 Saint Paul describes the conversion experience focusing here on the believer’s minds to come under the guidance of Christ. That is the only way of escape from the sexual addictions so rampant today.