June 1st 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Scomo routs Labor, the Green, GetUp and the left-wing media by Patrick J. Byrne and Peter Westmore

CANBERRA OBSERVED Surprise! Polls aren't what they used to be

GENDER POLITICS The true cost of childhood gender reassignment

OBITUARY Bob Hawke, R.I.P.: astute politician, flawed policies

POETRY AND SOCIETY T.S. Eliot and the modern condition

WATER POLICY The time is ripe to revisit the Bradfield scheme

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan upgrades U.S. links, asserts sovereignty

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Recapping the trial as Cardinal Pell's appeal approaches

THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY Working to bring down the Sexual Revolution

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki Part 2: Science and ancient cultures

HUMOUR A tidy planet is a happy planet

MUSIC Charles Ives: Modern elements aimed at sounding good

CINEMA John Wick 1: The lighting of the fuse

BOOK REVIEW Novelised true crime a true thriller

BOOK REVIEW The experiences of Phoebe Raye



FEDERAL ELECTION Queensland voted for jobs, life and country

NATIONAL AFFAIRS The trial of Cardinal Pell ... an injustice

EUTHANASIA D Day - June 19, 2019 - Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 begins operation

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Working to bring down the Sexual Revolution

by Bishop Peter Elliott

News Weekly, June 1, 2019

Bishop Peter J. Elliott delivered the following article as a speech at the National Civic Council’s Annual Conference in Melbourne last February. In it, he outlines a two-part strategy for families to adopt to ride out and thrive amid the tempest of the Sexual Revolution as that revolution gathers fury against Christianity and the family in particular.

In recent years I have been working on a book on the “Sexual Revolution”, its history, ideologies and impact on us all. This project helped me to understand that the Sexual Revolution in its current aggressive and deranged stage (transgenderism and LGBT) is part of a wider social revolution, the long-term project of libertarians, spanning the hard left and the soft right. Powerful, well-placed and well-funded forces are at work. Those who know Tolkien’s mythology see them as hordes of foul Orcs pouring forth from the dark realm of Mordor.

At the same time, Christians should recognise the signs of hope and the bright prospect of building the virtues and values of what Saint John Paul II called “the Civilisation of Love”. This will also involve a struggle to reject and reverse legislation that has virtually enforced the Sexual Revolution in many countries. Likewise, we are called to work with compassion for the healing of women, men, young people and children whose lives have been ruined by the Sexual Revolution.

Signs of hope

In these early decades of the 21st century, we can observe the signs of the fracturing of the Sexual Revolution once people begin to question its achievements. One sign is the rejection of sexual harassment of women in the workplace, involving the prosecution and shaming of male celebrities in politics, the media and the arts and, along with these revelations, the exposure of some media celebrities who have abused children. This can be taken to a “Me Too!” extreme but it is basically a move in a better direction. The pornographic culture is a major factor in violence towards women.

There is also a healthy revulsion against domestic violence; and let us never call it “family violence”, which is the language of cultural Marxists, that is, their claim that the family is the cause of the violence. The Victorian Government calls it “family violence”.

But what are the causes of this violence? Whether they are macho males or pathetic little bullies, men who abuse women have been greatly encouraged by the Sexual Revolution. It provides them with fuel in the form of pornography, violent and perverse electronic games and the message that a man has the right to enjoy pleasure at the expense of any woman. This violence can also be linked to what I claim is male control of the cohabitation game. Therefore, some feminists are recognising that the Sexual Revolution has played into the hands of men in the worst possible way.

A wider social and political change is under way. In many countries poli­tical instability has provoked a new movement among social conservatives. Some of us sense openness in favour of religion, decency and family values.

In France a critical moment was the Manif pour tous in February 2014, when huge crowds gathered in Paris and Lyons to demonstrate against legalising gender fluid marriage. This came as a shock to the political establishment, left and right. The media tried to conceal these events by telling lies about the numbers that came onto the streets, when in fact this was the largest manifestation (protest demonstration) in French history.

Thanks to the Manif pour tous and subsequent silent youth protests, pro-marriage family networks continue to operate across a nation where a steady revival of faith is under way. This is linked to efforts to rediscover the Judeo-Christian roots of Western society and to resist attempts to rewrite the story of our culture by hating it and censoring it out of schools and universities. Even secularist politicians begin to ask whether we have lost “meaning” when we denigrate our cultural roots and faith-based values.

So, if we look and listen carefully, we can welcome positive developments against permissiveness, for example:

  • Fathers making pledges to be faithful husbands.
  • Young women and men choosing to remain virgins until marriage.
  • Young women challenging older feminists.
  • Parents fighting bad sex-education programs and resisting the LGBTQI intrusion into schools.
  • Growing pro-family movements.
  • Young people admitting that they want marriage rather than just a string of “relationships”.
  • Education in chastity, self-respect and respect for others.
  • Education projects that affirm and honour Judeo-Christian ethics.
  • Projects to recover respect for Judeo-Christian culture.
  • Education in the history of our civilisation.
  • A gradual rise in vocations to a life of celibacy and chastity.
  • Imaginative modesty in dress and behaviour.

Social conservatism may have some effects in the sexual domain. But social conservatism by itself cannot bring down the revolution. Ultimately this is a spiritual struggle between good and evil. At the heart of the confusion and flux, the Catholic Church is called to stand firm.

Saint John Paul II, the courageous universal pastor, proclaimed a consistent and strong sexual ethic. He was hated by some, admired by others, respected even by those who disagreed with him. Likewise, Evangelical and Pentecostal leaders affirm a Bible-based consistent sexual ethic. This is part of another trend.

Objective observers can see that liberal Christianity is dying. By contrast, conservative or traditional forms of Christianity are growing, and they appeal to the young. One reason for this trend is that they propose objective morality, particularly sexual ethics derived from the Scriptures and enshrined in marriage, the family and the virtues of chastity and self-control.

At the same time, young men and women who have been wounded by sexual immorality are seeking spiritual healing through an ordered Christian way of life based on an obedient faith in Jesus Christ. If we listen to their stories, we hear of decisive conversion experiences, not without suffering. Yet we learn that self-sacrifice is possible with the amazing grace of the Holy Spirit.

Permissive liberals denounce this trend as “fundamentalist”, but their anger reveals insecurity. The promoters of the permissive society know that their revolution is threatened when family life, fidelity in marriage and objective sexual morals become attractive once more, particularly among the young. Perhaps the collapse of Soviet Communism also wiped out the romantic attraction to the idea of “revolution”.

Nevertheless, the family remains the main target of the revolution. It is here, in this little critical battleground, that we must take our stand. It is here that we can fight for all families. But this struggle calls for wise and noble strategies.

A two-fold strategy for families

In our families, our parishes and schools, hence in our own lives, I propose two strategies for tackling the Sexual Revolution. At first sight, these ways seem to be different, but I believe we need them both because they complement one another. I call one the Benedictine Way (or the Benedict Option) and the other The Yeast and Salt of the Kingdom.

1. The Benedictine Way

In the golden ages of the expansion of the Church, monasteries for men and convents for women were strongholds of Christian faith and culture. In Europe and in the East, these religious communities pushed back paganism, resisted the violent inroads of Islam and effectively counteracted ignorance and heresy. In the West, the supreme example of the monastic mission was the Benedictine tradition.

Religious communities formed and educated children and young people. They nursed the sick and the dying. They protected and fed the poor. They passed on a culture of art, music, literature and learning. In a wide range of Orders and Congregations their mission continues into our century, and we pray for more vocations.

But changes in society and the Church, not least the intrusion of the Sexual Revolution, call for the family to take up the mission of those religious communities. Is not the family the domestic church, the mini-church in the home?

Today, as never before, each Christian family must become a stronghold. Looking at this project as a “Benedictine Way” will involve “pulling up the drawbridge” and locking the doors and windows, which is what the monks and nuns did when the barbarians were at the gates.

Parents need to be vigilant about who and what enters the home, through any “door” or “window”; for example, by way of a child’s access to the internet, use of social media or through associating with amoral people. Our Lord spoke of being strongly armed lest the thieves break in (Mark 3:27). The thieves today want to steal the minds, hearts and souls of our children.

At the same time, parents need to be alert to certain risks. Locking out bad influences can become over-defensive, even obsessive. An over-protective parent can set up other problems, particularly unhealthy curiosity and reactive rebellion. Moreover, a repressive Puritanism is not an authentic part of Catholic tradition.

Nor should we ever imply that the world “outside” is totally evil and that only our own circles are good. The Catholic understanding of the human person is that we are basically good, created in the beautiful image of God, yet we are weak and flawed, in need of the grace of divine forgiveness and conversion. By grace we come to understand ourselves and our own shortcomings.

A sense of humour is part of joy, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In our families, it is useful to laugh at the sheer silliness of much of the Sexual Revolution, but without descending to cruel ridicule. It is also important to show the young that many promoters of sexual permissiveness lack a sense of humour, which is why they can only fall back on indecencies, for example foul-mouthed stand-up comedians. They are often such joyless people.

The strong family also becomes a place of healing and hope for people denied a decent family life. So many families attest to the way people are drawn to a home that is a true “domestic church”. So we need to appreciate that the Benedictine Way never means shutting morally wounded people out of our homes. When they knock on the door, they are seeking an atmosphere of security, safety, peace, joy and welcoming love. They may not know it, but they are seeking the Lord.

2. The Yeast and Salt of the Kingdom

The complementary way to the Benedictine approach is based on Jesus Christ calling Christians to be the “yeast” in the bread of society (see Matthew 13:33) and the “salt of the earth” that flavours society
(see Matthew 5:13).Christ calls us not to run away from the “wicked world” in reaction to its decadence, but to engage with the world. A basic strategy is set before us. We are called by Christ,not to be reactive but proactive.But, where does effective action within society begin?

Beginning in the family

The downside of the onslaughts we experience is that some people may feel daunted by the decadence and power in the Sexual Revolution. They may feel that they are helpless. But that illusion fades when we take up the proactive approach by drawing on the resilient energies of the family in society.

Experience shows us that families make a difference when they get together, work together and support one another. Parents and grandparents are energised once they become proactive in family associations and parents’ groups, whether associated with schools or through home-schooling networks. An inspiring example is the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF), active in Britain and Australia.

Mutual support not only builds up morale but sets up a networks and strategies. Most importantly the illusion of isolation fades away:

  • “Until I met this group, I thought we were the only traditional family in our area”.
  • “We were at our wits end until we discovered this family association….it is so good to bring our children to beautiful events for families.”
  • “We have met wonderful inspiring people here … we have found new friends who really share our values.”

But mutual support leads on to further action beyond the associations. I offer some practical examples because small, organised groups or a few committed individuals can be effective by forming or supporting local community circles:

  • To close or keep out neighbourhood sex shops and brothels.
  • To expose bad sex-education programs in all schools.
  • To challenge schools that promote gender diversity and sexual experimentation.
  • To ensure that contraceptives are not made available to teenagers.
  • To ensure that abortion is not provided for teenagers.
  • To expose those who fund the revolution.
  • To expose those who profit from it.

All these activities should be open to ecumenical and interfaith cooperation. The struggle is not a Catholic “thing”.

One major battlefield is the education of the young in the area of sexuality and fertility. Two issues predominate: the right of children to innocence; and the rights of their parents to educate and form them.

Behind these issues, there is a crucial question: To whom does the child belong – to parents or the state? The cultural revolutionists who prepare so much bad sex education do not see children as belonging to parents because they despise and deconstruct the family.

When we provide children and young people with “the truth and meaning of human sexuality”, we offer them clear moral guidance, not just rules or slogans. We help them to understand that there is objective moral truth and so we form and cultivate their consciences.

At the same time, we need to train our children and young people to see through the deceit and delusions of the Sexual Revolution. That involves a critical understanding of the media and protection from abuse through the social media. It is also helpful to train them to keep clear of the New Age swamp and to see through its superstitions, delusions and decadence.

Action groups

Beyond the family circle, at the political level in the wider society, action groups have already challenged the Sexual Revolution and always as ecumenical action. When the Sexual Revolution asserted itself in the United Kingdom, it was confronted by a housewife, Mary Whitehouse (1910–2001).

Likewise in Australia, the Reverend Fred Nile (1934– ) campaigned under the positive title, Festival of Light, which later became a small, but effective, political party. And we have our own Australian Family Association (AFA), of course. And, in the United States, Moral Majority fought battles in the 1970s and ’80s.

Taking the initiative means getting people of faith to stand for election to public office. The ecumenical and interfaith dimension is essential here. Whenever possible, formed and informed men and women should enter a range of poli­tical parties. The presence of people of faith is needed at local, state, provincial, national and federal levels of political engagement.

But first we need to dispel a purist mentality that politics is somehow “dirty”. Those committed to advancing the Judeo-Christian ethic must set aside such scruples and bravely set to work in society.

Fighting sexual exploitation

Another way open to those committed to justice and the Judeo-Christian ethic is to take the initiative in making war on corrupt people who exploit other human beings sexually, especially through sex-slavery and human trafficking. This more specialised work opens some critical fields for action in support of the vulnerable and marginalised.

When I worked in the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo entrusted me with the task of coordinating an international conference in Bangkok on child prostitution. I also coordinated related conferences: on street children, in Rio de Janeiro; and on child labour, in Manila.

In Bangkok, we collaborated with the ecumenical network, End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT). The conference of experts shook the Thai government by focusing on an embarrassing reality: that a large number of child prostitutes of both sexes were being exploited by sex tourists from the West.

The conference raised the need to rescue and rehabilitate these girls and boys, or to nurse them when they were dying of AIDS, infected by male sex tourists who treated them as things for entertainment and pleasure, living sex toys.

Such areas of front-line work reflects the twofold social mission of the Catholic Church in her struggle for moral truth, decency and justice:

1. Internal reform: cleaning up our own backyard.

2. Reaching out to cooperate with other Christians, members of other religions and all people of goodwill in a common cause to regenerate society and to rescue and heal the many victims of sexual exploitation.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm