Thursday, March 3, 2011


I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. My four favorite food groups are 1) meaty 2) cheesy 3) greasy, and 4) extra cheese. In the midst of a meal that I am eating and enjoying I am already day dreaming about the next opportunity there will be to eat. Such is the pleasure I find in eating.

But we don’t eat because we first enjoy it; we eat because we have to. As one commentator, Janet Smith in her now famous “Contraception; Why Not?” talk (you can read it here) put it, “God attaches pleasure to the things He really wants us to do – that are necessary for our survival. So it’s a pleasure to eat, drink, sleep, and have intercourse – though that’s not the purpose.”

On the one hand it is awfully swell of God to make what is necessary for our survival pleasurable. If eating were like swallowing glass we would probably have starved ourselves out long ago. (Think of how pleasurable it is to breath and how annoying it is when you have cold!) On the other hand, that gift can also be turned into a liability. When we eat only for pleasure we can end up eating the wrong things, or eating way too much, and either of these can lead to a whole host of ailments mind, soul, and especially body. As it may be true that one third of the world is starving to death, it is also true that one third of the world is eating itself to death in one way or the other.

There is a similar danger in thinking that bodily relations between humans is only for pleasure, a lifestyle that contraception (somewhat) made possible. The problem is that pleasure is a side bonus and not the purpose of these relations. And as with such things in the world, when we abuse something and use it for a purpose other than that for which it was intended, problems arise. In this case disease, conceptions, abortion, estrangement, break down of the family structure, and using people as objects of self gratification rather than devoting oneself to another. God made this human experience pleasurable, but more importantly it is supposed to be with the right person in the right situation, at the right time, in the right manner, and in the right way. To not bear this in mind, the benefits of this great and powerful gift of God becomes liabilities, and the pleasure it does give is shallow and can often turn into pain.


Pat said...

Here is a new side effect of so-called "safe sex": an increase in head and neck cancer [HANC], specifically in the back of the mouth and upper throat.

Among our young people, more cases of HANC occur due to "safe sex" than from smoking.

This outbreak is due to the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer in women. I will leave it to you to figure out how HPV has migrated to the mouth and throat.

The media does not report this new sexually transmitted disease. As a speech pathologist, I first became aware of it in my professional literature a few years ago.

We have campaigns against smoking. Will we now have campaigns against "safe sex?"

Sorry if I have offended anyone. The truth sometimes hurts.

r m kraus sr said...

I wonder who Pat is. Does she, or he, have a last name? or is a member of St Sebastian parish? Is what she wrote authoritative?

Fr. V said...

Thanks for the article reference, I may post that next Tuesday.

That is not a lady - that is Bacchus - essentially the (male)pagan god of over indulgence and pleasure.

Fr. V

Pat said...

r m k,

I am a parishioner and a speech pathogist. My file of articles on this topic dates back to 2007. The articles are summaries of findings in authoritative medical journals.

Here is a link to a few of the summaries (which also list the original source), but I have more than these articles in my file:

tara said...

Love this explanation Father! Very succinct way of tying it all together.