March 10, 2014
The UN takes on the Vatican
The Roman Catholic Church is a soft target for “human rights” campaigners and others of a progressive disposition who know they are most unlikely to be murdered for giving it a piece of their mind. Luckily for them, in what was once called Christendom blasphemy is no longer a capital offence. That is why a United Nations committee has just ordered Catholics to stop opposing abortion, teach youngsters in the schools they run all about the available contraceptive methods, be nice to homosexuals and approve of same-sex marriages, as well, needless to say, as to hand all paedophile priests over to the local authorities so they can be properly dealt with.
Will it follow up by attacking the Iranian practice of hanging homosexuals from cranes in public and raping female virgins in dungeons before executing them, or the equally appalling abuses such as child marriages, genital mutilation and “honour” killings that are routine in other Muslim countries? Probably not. Were any UN body to do so, its representatives could soon be torn apart by angry mobs who, unlike Catholics, do not take kindly to criticism, no matter how mild, of their beliefs.
Trying to cover up for lecherous clerics who preyed on minors, as the Roman Catholic Church did for far too long until Pope Benedict XVI decided the time had come to adopt a less permissive approach, was no doubt deplorable, but that does not mean that its refusal to abandon principles it has clung to for millennia just in order to keep up with the times is equally bad. Fashions change; it could well be that “repression”, which among other things, is good for creativity, makes a comeback in the not too distant future.
Since the gleeful “sexual revolution” of the 1960s, attitudes that, for some time, had been espoused only by a handful of brave libertarians, triumphed in all Western countries, though in other parts of the world varieties of puritanism that even Oliver Cromwell would have deemed a bit excessive have continued to hold sway. Does the survival of reactionary elements in Asia and Africa worry the feminist and homosexual militants who want to continue the war against the old “Victorian” order? Apparently it does not. As far as they are concerned, non-Western prudes who stone to death people who are rash enough to disobey the local rules are fellow victims of colonialist racism and should therefore get a free pass.
The Vatican defends the traditional Christian family, a man and woman who stay married until death parts them plus their offspring, on dogmatic grounds that cut no ice in these sceptical days. Perhaps it would be more persuasive if it argued its case in more practical terms. That would not be difficult. It could point out that, while it may seem reasonable to treat an individual’s sexual behaviour as a personal, private matter that legislators and clerical moralists would be well advised to leave alone, the social effects of the ongoing sexual revolution have been overwhelmingly negative.
What is just fine for a freewheeling man or woman bent on instant gratification can be bad for society as a whole. In every country, the children of unmarried parents do far worse in school and in later life than do those of unadventurous ones who stick together. Prisons are full of such unfortunates. For years now in the US black community, and increasingly among working class whites, the disintegration of the old order has had tragic consequences for millions of people and obliges welfare organizations to shoulder the enormous costs that are involved. Much the same is happening in Europe.
The demographic impact of the changes that UN committee wants to ram down the Vatican’s throat should also be taken into account. The loosening up of the old ways has been followed everywhere by a steep decline in the birth rate. When the allegedly unstoppable population explosion was the big issue, few found that disturbing, but that is no longer the case. Unless they get back to breeding as vigorously as did their great-grandfathers, Greeks, Italians and Spaniards, as well as Germans and Russians, will soon go the way of the Ona inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego. Replacing them, for a time, will be immigrants from Africa and Asia, but they too seem determined to commit collective suicide; despite the best efforts of the morality police, in Iran and many other Muslim countries, the birth rate has fallen so precipitously that, a generation after the Europeans, they too are heading for extinction.
Officially sanctioned sexual freedom, not just for a proudly dissolute minority but for everybody because, after all, it would be wrong to get elitist and discriminate, may be an attractive proposition but, to judge from what is happening, societies that give in to temptation are doomed to die out fairly soon. Unpleasant as the thought may be, societies that prefer the stern old-style Roman Catholic, Protestant or Jewish code of behaviour that once prevailed throughout the West could have far more staying power than any that would meet with the approval of the presumably progressive experts who were hired by the UN to tell Pope Francis and his men to get more in touch with the modern world.
To underline their message, they took advantage of the collapse of the Church’s moral authority as a result of the sordid misdeeds of far too many clerics, but that does not mean that it got everything else wrong.