True story: one day when I was at Boston College, I left a classroom with my head spinning. A classmate joined me in the washroom and said something along the lines of “You know, I just cannot believe all the heresy the profs teach and how many of the students just repeat it.”
I was floored and delighted because finally someone else had said it. Someone had seen it, and someone was talking to me about it. I was not alone!
I replied something like, “I know. And what really blows my mind is how so many people here just completely and openly ignore Saint Paul about sexuality. I mean, I understand that Catholics have a hard time staying chaste, but we are Catholic THEOLOGY students!”
And my classmate looked incredibly shifty, and too late I remembered she had a boyfriend back home, and she began to murmur something about “committed relationships” and my heart sank to my toes.
As far as I know, my priest-professors were all sexually chaste men, and I know nothing to their discredit in that regard–except that one by his teaching encouraged unchastity in others. However, many of the unmarried students were quite open about their sex lives, which I discovered when interviewed for a student house owned by a pious sodality and rented to BC theology students for a generously low rent.
The battle to stay chaste is a very difficult one, and I imagine the vast majority of us lose a lot of battles, if only minor skirmishes with fantasy or whatever. I understand how easily longing for love and physical connection, plus plain old lust, clouds the intellect. However, just throwing down one’s arms and allowing oneself to be taken prisoner by sex and then rejoicing in the pleasures of the prison camp is not okay. Quite beyond the damage to oneself, it demoralizes one’s former battle buddies. And to start writing propaganda for the camp commander is simply atrocious behaviour–especially in a theologian.
My hypothesis about 21st century heresy in the United States of America is that it is somehow rooted in sexual unchastity – either in oneself or in people one loves. I may go farther and suggest that it may have something to do with all kinds of physical license: too much eating, too much booze, too much sleep, too much watching of sports on television.
Anyway, here is my memoir of life at BC in Catholic World Report.