Rorate Caeli

The Church and Asmodeus - Part 1

Note: We will bring this great work to you over the coming days, in five parts. A special thank-you to contributor Francesca Romana, whose translations are second to none, for the extensive work involved with this series:
By Don Pietro Leone

                                                                              A spiritu fornicationis
                                                                                 libera nos, Domine 
                                                                (invocation from the Litany of the Saints)
A detail from the Ysenheimer Altar by Matthaeus Gruenewald represented an androgyne demon storming a church 

Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote to Cardinal Caffara that the final clash between the Devil and the Church would be in the area of the family and marriage. A dispassionate survey of recent Church history serves to assure us that the clash has already begun, that is to say with the entry into the Church of the Demon Asmodeus: the spirit of fornication.

The question that we wish to address in this essay is how Holy Mother Church, Who has for 2,000 years resisted, been able to overcome, and indeed been purged and exalted by, all the cruel and inhuman violence of her persecutors and all the abstruse subtleties of the heretics, is now succumbing to something as base and as primitive as the concupiscence of the flesh.

To attempt to answer this question, we shall briefly present:

    1)  The Church’s traditional attitude to sexuality, in contrast to that of the World;
   2) The attitude to sexuality of the modern Church (or rather of the modern Churchmen) from the time of the Second Vatican Council to the accession of Pope Francis; and finally
   3)  The attitude manifest in the encyclical Amoris Laetitia.


a)      The Nature of Sexuality

In the eyes of the Church, sexuality has a finality: it is a faculty of the human person oriented to procreation. Since procreation necessitates the existence of a marriage and a family for its proper use, sexuality belongs within marriage and the family, and sexuality thus falls within marital ethics.

In the eyes of the World, by contrast, sexuality does not necessarily belong to marriage or fall within marital ethics, but rather has its own ethics, that is to say sexual ethics. To the Church the atomic cell is marriage; to the World it is sexuality.

To the World, again, sexuality does not have a ‘finality’, or orientation, as such. Rather, as sense-love, it is an end in itself and speaks for itself; it does not require justification, even if it impels the agent to act counter to reason. Indeed the very concept of ‘finality’ is distasteful to the children of the World[1], because their Weltanschauung is essentially subjectivist and self-centered. In a word, they are interested only in their own finality (or desires), and in not that of God, Who, according to them, may very possibly not exist at all.

Their conception of sexuality ranges from the superficial to the worldly-wise: from the conception simply of something which brings pleasure, alone or with another irrespective of the other’s age, sex, or marital status; to the conception of  love between two adults, male and female, but which is typically not confined to marriage alone. Sexuality, according to them, has its own dynamic: it grows, fades, dies, brings pleasure but also sadness; it attaches to one person and then to another; it is as variable and as bittersweet as life itself.

b)        The Evaluation of Sexuality

The Church teaches that sexuality, being a sense faculty, is, in our fallen human nature, and as a consequence of Original Sin, disordered. Like all the operations of the senses and the emotions, it must therefore be controlled and kept in check by the cardinal virtue of moderation, which in the area of sexuality is known as ‘chastity’. Marriage, in providing the context for the proper use of sexuality, is termed ‘the remedy for concupiscence’. For those who are married, chastity signifies moderation of the use and pleasures of this faculty; for the unmarried it signifies total abstinence.

Apart from chastity, there is another virtue which the Church advocates in the sexual domain, and that is modesty, or the sense of shame, pudor. This virtue relates to demeanour, dress, and speech. Indeed sexuality is not discussed by committed Catholics except with the utmost tact and discretion.

The World, by contrast, views sexuality as good in an unqualified sense, inasmuch as it belongs to human nature, which it also views as good in such a sense. ‘God made me that way’, they are wont to say, about any desire that might afflict them.

The World is not interested in modesty. It advocates complete license in the exercise of sexuality, in dress, and in speech. It is open and candid when it comes to this, its favourite topic. Jokes, double entendres, stories of affairs, ‘conquests’, and scandals are merrily bandied about as though a sure index of manliness and emancipation [2].

c)   The Abuse of Sexuality

Inasmuch as it is ordered to procreation, to the creation of beings after the image and likeness of God, for the conservation of the human race and for the population of Heaven, sexuality is ordered to a great good, and consequently its abuse is a great evil. For this reason the Church teaches that all sexual sins, all sins against purity, are of grave matter: whether alone or with another, whether both are single, or one or both are married to another, whether they are of a different or of the same sex, whether the sin is of the natural or unnatural order. If committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent, such sins, if not confessed before physical death, will merit the eternal death of Hell. Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin is a further mortal sin: that of sacrilege.

The World, by contrast, views this vision as exaggerated, puritanical, prudish, psychologically unenlightened, inhibited, repressive, killjoy, moralizing, pharisaic, ‘only for nuns’, ‘positively medieval’ and ‘hopelessly out of step with the times’. The Children of the World defend themselves from the criticism of impurity by saying that they are ‘not harming any-one’. This they say because they subscribe to hedonism, which constitutes the sum total of all their sexual ethics[3].

In conclusion, then, the Church teaches that:

      a)     Sexuality has a finality and is ordained to procreation.
    b)      Sexuality is in itself disordered; in marriage it is permitted as the ‘remedy of concupiscence’; it must be moderated by asceticism: by chastity and modesty.
            c)      Its abuse is gravely sinful.

     The World teaches, by contrast, that:

           a)      Sexuality does not have a particular finality. Its use is pleasurable and a means for expressing love between two persons, not necessarily married to each other.
            b)      It is unqualifiedly good, and is to be used and talked about with complete license.
            c)      Its morality is determined by the canons of hedonism.

e                                                                   Part 2 to be posted, soon.

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana

[1] as to Modern Philosophers in general
[2] whereas quite the opposite is true: they are signs of effeminacy and self-indulgence: the incapacity to be a man, to take courage and responsibility; the index of enslavement to lower desires.
[3] we note here that hedonism is incoherent, since self-indulgence brings sadness, while it is self-discipline (within the context of the Christian virtues) that brings happiness