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*Image: Blind Leading the Blind by James B. Janknegt, 2016 [private collection]

By Michael Pakaluk, The Catholic Thing, Oct. 1, 2019

Michael Pakaluk

Here is a type of person we recognize among Catholics and Christians generally: someone who in an “earlier life” went along with our society’s sexual mores, but then converted and now is intensely strict about sexual purity.   About that earlier life we can easily assume: sleeping around in college; use of contraceptives; non-procreative sex acts; also, vulgar language and entertainment; friends who are easy with all those things; and ridicule or worse for the “inflexible” and “serious.”

But then they converted.  Who knows what it was?  Grace, to be sure, and someone’s prayers, but maybe a book by a saint, or the example of a friend, or a betrothed who was chaste.  At first in such conversions, there is usually plain and simple obedience. This is what the Lord commands, and I must do His will:  “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  But then there is a purging and one begins “to see” – because impurity darkens the soul and blinds our practical intelligence.  Recall that Our Lord’s blessing upon the pure was sight.

Everyone who converts in this way goes from not seeing (“what’s wrong with it”) to seeing how utterly disastrous unchaste acts are for the soul.  Tellingly, the one who does not see will use legalistic terms, and the one who does see uses “causal” language of health and harm, goodness and corruption. ….

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