The Only Way to a Clean Heart, by Anthony Esolen

Founder’s Quote
March 13, 2023
The March Madness of the President, by Victor Davis Hanson
March 13, 2023

*Image: Satan and Death with Sin Intervening by Henry Fuseli, 1799-1800 [Los Angeles County Museum of Art]

By Anthony Esolen, The Catholic Thing, March 11, 2023

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. Among his books are Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World, and most recently The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a professor and writer in residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, in Warner, New Hampshire. Be sure to visit his new website, Word and Song.

In a recent conversation, I said to someone that the introduction of the Pill into the relations between young men and women raised the sexual stakes to a precarious height. All the healthful and practical delays between a friendly greeting and a night in bed were swept aside. And neither sex knew any longer what to expect from the other.  The result, I have been saying for many years, is loneliness for everyone who does not play the game, and all kinds of moral and personal wreckage for those who do. And perhaps, in the end, an even deeper loneliness, involving a complete alienation from the opposite sex.

How could we have failed to see it coming?  How could Catholics, and theologians and philosophers in particular, have failed to see what pagans like Plato, Aristotle, Zeno the Stoic, Cicero, and Marcus Aurelius saw, that setting up vice in fancy-dress would no more alter its effects than would sugar on a dish of poison? …