July 3, 2012


THIS JUST IN! Channing Tatum said he hated his time as a stripper (in real life)--
felt like "a fool": http://movies.uk.msn.com/news/channing-tatum-i-hated-stripping


“What??! A nun went to see ‘Magic Mike’?” No, she did not. This is a historic review. This is the VERY FIRST TIME I am reviewing a movie that I have not seen. “Well, then, how can you possible review it?” I am reviewing the CONCEPT of the film and the FACT that the film exists (also historical). I have watched the trailer, read quite a few reviews and listened to the online chatter.

I read in "Entertainment Weekly" that when Channing Tatum was teaching a co-star how to do a routine (and trying to get him over his initial [NATURAL!] reluctance/hesitancy), he said: "Grind your junk in her face." Alrighty, then! That's all I need to know. I know the INTENTION of the film, how it's constructed, and what it's going to show me. No thanks. Porn (soft or otherwise) is DESIGNED for one thing and one thing only: illicit titillation (that's 5 i's, 4 l's, 4 t's).

I did not think I would have to write this non-review. I thought someone else was gonna. But the Catholic/Christian BlogoTwitteroFacebookoNewsosphere was silent. And nature abhors a vacuum. Basically the feedback I got on this movie—in general—was light-hearted, giggly positivity, and serious, laudatory reviews.

Although the plot (SPOILER ALERT!) is that "Mike" eventually gets out of stripping--um, is THAT why people are going to see this movie? Is THAT why this film was made? So audiences can learn a lesson about getting out of the stripping industry?

I read some time ago that Channing Tatum had been a male stripper in real life (I guess he couldn’t have been a “female stripper”—but NOTICE HOW WE HAVE TO MAKE THAT DISTINCTION: because male strippers are NEW and UNNATURAL.)  I am not saying that female stripping is “natural” (and it’s certainly not “good”), only that the way men and women approach sex (and each other) is DIFFERENT. (Read on.)


Chippendales & admirers
New? Chippendales were established in 1979. Geez, why did it take so long? Because the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s ushered in the fallacy that men and women are EXACTLY THE SAME. Women can objectify men now, too! Wow—what progress!

The Sexual Revolution told women that they can now “have sex like a man.” Because, you see, the male paradigm is the only good paradigm! Feminists, in wanting to be just like men, “have what men have,” unwittingly labeled women’s ways as inferior, and set about obliterating the feminine. But it gets worse. Women imitated BAD MEN. (If we wanted to be men, at least we could have imitated good men.) We imitated men who were cads, tools, players—promiscuously using/abusing women. But we turned the tables and did it to men, doing extreme violence to everything feminine in us, shutting off all our feminine voices and instincts and wisdom. 


Women are the fairer sex.  Women are the most beautiful thing that God ever created (the “crown of Creation”). In the sexual act, men initiate the gift of love and life, and women receive it and return it in love. This is not inconsequential. The body is not inconsequential. This “fact of the act” carries over into the male/female difference socially, spiritually, psychologically. We now have plenty of science to corroborate this. It's not natural for men to exhibit themselves in a sexual way as the "prize" to be gained.

Men’s temptation is to lust after women, and women’s temptation is to want to/let themselves be lusted after. “The mission of every man is the dignity of every woman. The mission of every woman is the integrity of every man.” Does this mean that women never lust after men and men’s bodies? Nope. Otherwise—from the Judaeo-Christian perspective—Eve would have been the only one to put clothes on after The Fall. Obviously SHE was not looking properly at Adam, either, and thus caused the sense of protective shame in Adam. (Lust is looking/desiring a person not as a person but as a thing for one’s own selfish gratification.)


Men’s sexuality is external to their bodies. This means something. Men are all about externality, and learn to “be a man” through various external benchmarks in their lives and through mentoring by 1) a father or father-figure 2) buddies and 3) their beloved (woman). Men’s brains compartmentalize. Men use the two sides of their brains alternately, not at the same time. Men are visually wired to be sexually stimulated first by the physical.

Women’s sexuality is internal to their bodies. This means something. Women are all about internality, and know instinctively what it means to be a woman. Women’s brains are integrated. The two sides of our brains are constantly communicating. Women are born multi-taskers. Women emphasize the emotional in a relationship, and are wired to be sexually stimulated first by the emotional. (Hooking-up is THE most unnatural thing in the world for women, who automatically/naturally evaluate a man’s character over time before they are comfortable enough to let their guard down.)

Women—who are the Keepers of Life—and as John Paul II says are “specially entrusted with the new person [i.e.,babies],” naturally see the whole person, and not just body parts, and are interested in a holistic relationship, not just a physical experience.

It is said that men simply fantasize about beautiful bodies, while women fantasize about men they know.


Caution: Harvey has no problem
with sex before marriage.
Of course. It just doesn’t happen as easily as it does for men. Unless, of course, we train ourselves that way, make a habit of it. I’m always surprised by the surprise men express over the fact that more and more women are using porn (and, of course, becoming addicted to it). Perhaps men are surprised because 1) they know that women are naturally more sexually integrated—because we’re wired that way 2) they are counting on women to give them/lead them in good examples of chastity (NOT double standard stuff, but genuinely “civilizing” them). Highly recommended reading: the very end of Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” (about how men might seem to fight it, but they really do want women to “civilize” them—this is not saying that they’re brutes, but…well, just read it.)

I was recently with some extraordinary young adults—men and women--who are in Catholic evangelization ministry. Here’s what the men had to say about the women: “They change us, just by being around them.” WOW. And the way these men looked at these women was unlike anything I had ever seen. Purely. With longing. With admiration. Seeing the whole person. WOW.


“Chastity” does not mean “celibacy.”

Celibacy=abstaining from sexual activity.

Chastity=the integration of body and soul. Chastity=integrity of body and soul. Chastity=purity of body and soul according to our state/vocation in life. So married couples practice chastity also.

Purity=seeing the image/glory of God in the human body and treating it accordingly.

There is such a thing also as “emotional chastity” which women in particular need. Women fantasize in order to get an emotional high, but we often create incredible worlds of drama and unrealistic expectations that dribble into and disrupt our actual lives. And sins can be committed interiorly, as well!


“If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” –Jesus (Matthew 5:28). Of course His words apply to women lusting after men, as well. SAY WHAT??? You mean we can sin inside? Interiorly? Without actually carrying out an action? Oh yes. Jesus was verrrrry clear about that. Our inner world is REAL. God sees everything inside of us. Our thoughts are real behaviors, real interior actions. “The things that come out of the mouth proceed from the heart, and it is this that defiles a man.” –Jesus (Matthew 15:18). “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” –Jesus (Mark 7:21).

People say that “Jesus didn’t say much about sex.” Yeah, but what he said was REVOLUTIONARY: so revolutionary that we’ve chosen to just ignore it!

Trashy romance novels are called “women’s porn.” Why? Because, again, women emphasize/enjoy the narrative, the dialogue, the story, the emotional interplay that goes along with sex. It’s just as damaging and addictive for women as visual porn is for men. Perhaps erotica like “50 Shades of Grey” can help married women “loosen up” to enjoy sex more with their husbands, but what is happening in the very act of reading the book(s)? A friend of mine, a woman involved in S&m (lowercase “m”) for many years, firmly believes that the fascination with S&m today is because women are not living their feminine receptivity, but are behaving like men even in the sexual realm, and so the missing “receptivity” is coming out in this form.


The Bible and the Theology of the Body tell us that we (the bodies that we ARE) are in a spousal relationship with the Lord.

“For your Maker has become your husband” (Isaiah 54:5).

"I will espouse you to me forever; I will espouse you in right and justice, in love and in mercy. I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord" (Hosea 2:19).

“The body is not for immorality, but FOR the Lord; and the Lord is FOR the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13).

“You have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

And our bodies ARE us, they are not something outside of ourselves that we can use as we please. What we do with our bodies we do with our souls, what we do with our souls we do with our bodies. It cannot be otherwise because we are one person, not a soul/body split. I do not HAVE a body (like a disembodied self that “has” a body-possession-thing), I AM a body. The human person=body and soul, together forever.

And this ain’t to scare anyone, it’s just a fact: BECAUSE we are ONE person, body and soul, a unity in duality, our body will share in glory or dishonor in eternity. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.” –Jesus (John 5:28-29)

As Christopher West (“Mr. TOB”) is fond of saying, there is, of course, an obvious horizontal dimension to “the spousal meaning of the body.” A man’s body makes no sense without a woman’s body and vice versa. Therefore, by design, we are made FOR another. We are called to make a “sincere gift of self” (Vatican II’s “Gaudium et Spes,” 24).  Whether or not we are married, men and women must collaborate and harmonize our differences. “The future of civilization depends on what he will be for her and what she will be for him” (John Paul II).


The way men and women are FOR each other, the way they GIVE to each other is DIFFERENT. Men, like Jesus, lay down their lives for their bride, as Jesus did for His Church. The masculine becomes a victim for the feminine. “This is my Body, given up for you.” The gift is total, whole-hearted. The Eucharist is true nourishment for body and soul. The “gift” of “Magic Mike” is not a true gift. It is not a “sincere” gift of self. It requires no sacrifice. There is no nourishment given. It is anti-fruitful. It is withholding. It is not real. It is a tease. It doesn’t satisfy, but only torments and frustrates. It is empty calories. It is a chimera. It is toxic. It is poison.


All the MORE reason you shouldn’t go see “Magic Mike”! You’re not only cheating on God, you’re cheating on your hubby! And, guess what. Nobody can “handle it.” Nobody is so jaded that they can tell their minds and bodies not to be effected by erotic images. It’s NOT mind over matter. We’re not wired that way. And it’s not a sign of “maturity” to go to films like “Magic Mike.” Maturity means responsibility. “Magic Mike” is nothing if not irresponsible. Unless you have a serious medical problem where your libido is incredibly depressed, your body WILL react to the images presented. Not cool. Your body-person belongs to God, and your hubby.

Because we do not understand that our interior lives matter so greatly, and that everything “proceeds” forth from our interior life, I’m afraid we do not cultivate our inner life, we are not careful to protect our inner life, our imaginations, our hearts. Our entitled, narcissistic society tells us to “go for it”! Go for EVERYTHING we “feel.” To deny any impulse would be to warp and repress ourselves. Even as a nun, who has so many helps to “the spiritual life,” I inadvertently had this kind attitude about a lot of things until I read this amazing blog post by a “recovering lesbian.” To sum up, she talks about the impulses she has to cruise lesbian bars when she’s traveling on business. She says, basically that she has decided that she will “SHUT DOWN EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY IF I HAVE TO, because I will not be part of causing Him pain who endured so much for me.”


Wow. Her post literally changed my life. Eventually, we should become more in control of ourselves, have more self-mastery than to have to revert to emergency “shut-downs.” But still: if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. FOR Him. For those we are vowed to. For ourselves.

What else is an “occasion of sin” if not going to a movie like “Magic Mike”? What are our bodies doing, ladies, as we sit there drinking in the gyrating, semi-clothed images of gorgeous, buff male bodies? Is it not a form of masturbation?


If love between a man and a woman is the most natural and basic way to grow as a person, to grow spiritually, to get to heaven, then I need it in my life somehow!

Ah! We have caught Satan in one of his subtlest lies. Gotcha! If the above subtitle is true, than nuns and priests (and singles) even MORE than married couples should run to see “Magic Mike”! Of course, let’s also remember that “Magic Mike” is presenting the body/sex in a totally hedonistic, consumeristic way, so…what constructive lesson would ANYONE learn from it? But let’s just go with this little whisper from the Enemy for now.

We must remember that all human love is modeled on Divine Love (not the other way around). When Jesus showed up looking like us, He was not made in our image: we were made in His image. Yeah. Think about it! Mind-blowing, isn't it?

Us celibates? We go directly to the Source of ALL love. To Love Itself/Himself. Yes, we are “missing out” on the most glorious plan of God for those called to marriage (and John Paul II says that celibates need to really grasp the greatness of what they do NOT have), but—unless marriage is in our future--God alone is more than enough. Celibacy (temporary or permanent) is a great test of our faith, hope and love, and God will not leave us hanging us out to dry.

As one of my seminarian friends says: "My celibacy is for others. I get up in the morning for others." There is great joy in living for others.

"Joyous celibacy with you [the pope], like Christ, for the Church"

“We celibates should be loving more every day! We are not to let our hearts dry up! We are to love more and more!” –Blessed James Alberione (Founder of the Pauline Family) www.MediaApostle.com

As Christopher West says, we are so hungry for information about the body! REAL information. Theological, mystical information, God’s story about the human body! If human beings have the capacity for God (which we do), and our bodies can receive God’s Body (Eucharist), then we interface with God! We interface with the Infinite! We have the capacity for the Infinite! And now we have the food we want not only in the Eucharist, but in the boundless Theology of the Body! Eat up! John Paul II cracked the physical AND metaphysical code of love and life. He mapped the human/divine love genome. He found the Higgs Boson “God particle” of humanity. OK, enough with the pathetic scientific metaphors.


I think it’s because we are so out of touch with our feminine bodies, our feminine souls, and are doing violence to them and trying to imitate men to be happy. Or we’re trying to be men AND women at the same time. It’s exhausting and impossible. I bought into the “be a better man than the men” feminist rhetoric a long time ago and have spent years extricating myself from it and trying to hear my “irrational, illogical, weak, inferior, sentimental” feminine voices/instincts. And you know what? They are none of these things! Just different! And it has been SUCH a relief to hear them and follow their bidding!

And furthermore! Ladies—if you are really honest, really in touch with your deep-down femininity, you will see that you are so needy. And it’s OK to be needy! You need so much love and affirmation and attention because God made us that way. So you MUST go to HIM first and let HIM tell you how much HE loves you and how beautiful you are to HIM because God’s love is the best and HIS love never changes. THEN go to your earthling guy.


How do you get started reclaiming your true femininity? Listen to your body. Listen to yourself. Listen to God and the Mother of God. Trust your body, trust yourself, trust God and Our Lady. Hang out with other women who listen to their bodies, themselves. The feminists were so right to name their groundbreaking book “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” They GOT that they are all one thing!

I know this will sound strange, but read John Paul II’s “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.” He’s drawing on millennia of theology, biblical studies and common sense. Helped me. And he is ardently defending THE RIGHT OF WOMEN TO BE WOMEN. Everywhere in society. AS women.


But isn’t the naked human body beautiful? Why can’t we look at it and appreciate it? You're right! The human body is sooooo beautiful that it should only be seen by one other person (in an erotic context) who is  committed to you for life—to love you for life. To reveal one’s body is to “give” it. To look at it is to “receive” it. Or rather to give and receive the WHOLE PERSON. Why do young people commit suicide when their sexting goes viral? Because their very “selves” have been “given” to the whole world against their will!

Works of classical art, instead, “lead the viewer through the body to the whole personal mystery of man. In contact with such works, we do not feel pushed by their content toward ‘looking with lust,’…in some way we learn the spousal meaning of the body, which corresponds to…’purity of heart.’” –John Paul II
For more about the difference between art (nudes) and porn, see John Paul II’s Theology of the Body #60-63 and this awesome article about ceiling of Sistine Chapel (or, as Justin Bieber says, “The Sixteenth Chapel”): http://www.kofc.org/un/en/columbia/detail/2011_11_sistine.html

Also, Fr. Thomas Loya’s excellent: “The Interior Gaze: Remedy for Lust and Porno-vision” http://www.ofwcmedia.com/fr-thomas-loya/1154-the-interior-gaze-a-remedy-for-qpornovisionq-and-lust-dvd-fr-thomas-loya.html

“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.” –G.K. Chesterton


We’ve already established that it’s soft porn, it’s a form of “adultery” (even if you’re single, because you are in a spousal relationship with the Lord), but if that’s not convincing enough, this was a Twitter convo about "Magic Mike":


When I first heard this movie was coming out, my heart sank. A new low for the mainstreaming of soft porn. Channing Tatum, besides being an incredibly talented actor (I was totally impressed when I saw him in “She’s the Man,” and just continue to be impressed with all his roles)--has a huge teen/young adult following. And of course, they’ll all be watching “Magic Mike.” “Magic Mike” further legitimizes and normalizes (male) stripping, exhibitionism, public nudity, hypersexuality, depersonalization, anonymity, separating sex and love, separating love and life, everyone belongs to everyone, the body as plaything.


Sleeping around while I’m is young is not: “Getting it out of my system!” “You’re only young once!” “Just having a little fun!” It is training for the opposite of marriage. (Or as one young person said: “Sex before marriage is sleeping with someone else’s future spouse.”) If I want to be a soccer player, why would I go to basketball camp? Even right up to the wedding we have this custom of strippers at bachelor parties and now male strippers at bachelorette parties. Really?? So the wedding day will be a magic wand to suddenly make me faithful to just one person? It will erase my STDs, and the memory of all my other sexual partners, sexual escapades, etc., and I won’t even want them anymore? Marriage in this scenario sounds like the proverbial ball and chain. What a drag! No more fun! Instead of training for true love and true sex, our culture is busy preparing for the “opposite of marriage”: infidelity and divorce. We need to be in training for true love and true sex! “Nothing like the real thing, baby….” Totally worth not just "waiting" for, but "being in training" and "preparing" for.

Sex (of whatever kind) outside marriage is ADDICTIVE. Sex within marriage is BONDING.


--Why is a nun always talking about sex? 1) Because sex is the “signs of the times” and we had better darn well be talking about it. Our silence is destructive and damaging (especially for our young people) like a grave sin of omission.  2) There is nothing dirty/bad/naughty about sex-as-God-intended-it. 3) Blessed John Paul II the Great led the way with his “Love and Responsibility” and “Theology of the Body.” 4) Theology of the Body IS the New Evangelization AND the New Catechesis. It is method and content.

"Sometimes we feel guilty because we are."

--Why is a nun always* talking about sin? Because sin is real. And it’s bad. And it hurts us. And it’s mean. As “Sister” from Late Nite Catechism sez: “Sometimes we feel guilty because we are.” Guilt is good! It’s an indicator that something is wrong! And then we can do something about it! Yay, guilt! Just like we get aches and pain as symptoms that something is wrong in our bodies. But of course we need a healthy conscience, not a lax or scrupulous one. That’s why we need “formation of conscience.”

--Something that helps me look away immediately when porn pops up on my computer, or when I’m tempted to “use” others’ bodies in whatever way for my own selfish gratification is this: I REFUSE to do that to the dignity of another human being. Or my own.

--When I talk to teens about Theology of the Body, I play devil’s advocate and say: “As long as I WANT my body to be used, as long as we MUTUALLY AGREE to use each other’s bodies, it’s OK, right? Or, if a prostitute or porn star gets PAID and they’re OK with their bodies being used, it’s OK, right? As long as we AGREE, WANT, CONSENT, then everything’s OK, right?” They really, really struggle with trying to answer this because today’s mantra is: “As long as I CHOOSE it, anything goes.” They have no concept that some things are just wrong in themselves and it doesn’t matter how we FEEL about them, or what we CHOOSE in regard to them—they’ll always be wrong.

“If selling yourself is as much fun as this movie makes it look, what could be wrong with it? The answer is that once you’ve sold yourself, losing yourself may not be far behind.” –Owen Gleiberman, movie reviewer for “Entertainment Weekly”

--I tell the teens: “We give other people their dignity even when they don’t want it. Even when they WANT to be used for whatever reason: money, pleasure, or because they don’t know they have dignity.”

--Who are the “sexiest” men alive? Family men. They are hidden deep within families. They are men who love their wives and children fundamentally, freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully. They are the kind of men that women (who are truly in touch with their femininity) want. Why do you think women bemoan: “All the good ones are taken”?

There’s nothing more beautiful than when I look out the window on a Saturday morning and see a Dad with his little boys all in Cubs’ gear at the bus stop heading to a game. Kind of breathtaking. And what about those Dads who ACTUALLY SET FOOT IN THE AMERICAN GIRL DOLL STORE with their little princesses? Huh, huh?

--“The language of Christianity is the Body.” –@AndreasWidmer (former Swiss Guard who wrote the book “The Pope and the CEO”)

--Bodies R Us

*Actually, I hardly ever use the word “sin.” Go ahead. Search this blog. You’ll see. :]

Pls, pls, pls! Everyone read. About what porn does to women who use it. "What I wish I knew BEFORE I started using porn"  (from Lauren Nicole Dubinsky @laurendubinsky--Hollywood insider)

MUST READ: "A Virgin Explains Sex" (not me: some 26-year-old chick in Tampa Bay [who have an excellent NHL hockey team, BTW]) http://www.tampabay.com/news/perspective/why-im-still-a-virgin-at-age-26/1236657


  1. Great post, Sister Helena!

  2. Super! I nee to read this a few times so the points are on the tip of my tongue.

    1. Vanessa6:56 PM

      Ah! As I was reading this, I was thinking 'I could imagine JK writing this' ... :-)

      (Ps Totally agree with the 'sexiest' men alive bit! :P)

  3. Anonymous8:29 AM

    For being a non-review of a movie I don't want to see, this was great! You are a true feminist and I really appreciate your advice on how to be a godly woman in this age of media consumption. God bless you! -Sarah

  4. What an amazing post. I agree--the Catholic blogosphere has been largely silent on this, and on 50 Shades of Grey as well. (I'm in the midst of writing a blogpost on that one myself.) Thank you so much for these insightful, wise, and timely words!

  5. Thanks for all the kind words. Where are the hate posts? ha ha.

    Big compliment: "true feminist"! Or, as BJP2G coined "new feminist," or "Theology of the Body feminist," or....

  6. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Thank you for sharing this sister! there are at least 3 times I said "ok this must be the end of it"
    It was so well written time spent (long) so worth reading! And no I don't hate it! My favorite parts

    “Nothing like the real thing, baby….” Totally worth not just "waiting" for, but "being in training" and "preparing" for.

    The feminists were so right to name their groundbreaking book “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” They GOT that they are all one thing!

    you MUST go to HIM first and let HIM tell you how much HE loves you and how beautiful you are to HIM because God’s love is the best and HIS love never changes. THEN go to your earthling guy.


  7. Laura Lowder12:08 PM

    LOVE IT! God bless you! Did you see the article, yesterday, in which Channing Tatum admitted he HATED the "profession" of being a male stripper? Ironic, or what?

  8. Laura Lowder!

    Please send me link to article! pleeeeeze! Tx!

    Sr. H <><

  9. The Other Tom Seaver1:38 PM

    Okay, here is a hate post. I hate the fact that our society is so overwhelmed by these vulgar displays of "Look at me! Look at me!" behavior when there is so much beauty, true beauty, around us.

    Excellent post, Sister. I am giving it to my 16 year old daughter who secretly read 50 Shades of Smut and is struggling to understand why that is inappropriate. Thank you for the post.

    1. Yes, yes. The culture is so strong and confusing that even natural modesty, natural reactions, natural shame is gone. Young people quite SINCERELY do not see what is wrong. With almost anything. They have had a steady media diet of distorted body/love/sex/beauty/relationships from their youngest years. This way of seeing/thinking/feeling is ingrained in them. That's why I love to stress also what is RIGHT! What they CAN have!

  10. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Great article.
    Healthy balance between not being gnostic / prudish, on the one hand, nor crude / irreverent on the other, about this subject.
    God bless,

  11. Anonymous5:53 PM

    I made the very great mistake of listening to the mind-bogglingly "laudatory" reviews by respected critics and went to see this movie.

    You nailed it!

    The only thing I can add is that Matthew McCoughnahey's (I'm sure I spelled that wrong)character adds a level of creepiness (intentionally) to the story that you could not possibly anticipate, and therefore couldn't comment on. His character and his performance constitute, along with the predictable and unoriginal ending, the "good stuff" critics speak of, I'm guessing. It was a good performance on his part -- does anyone play greasy charm better than McCoughnahey? I don't think so!

    Note: I live in an area that includes a large gay community. There were more men in the audience than women!

    On the 50 Shades nonsense... I am (ahem) a card-carrying member of the RWA (Romance Writers of America), and I and my fellow authors have been discussing the mainstreaming of erotica in recent years and the increasingly crude nature of sex scenes we've scene lately. There certainly has been a LOT of discussion surrounding the 50 Shades phenomenon, and I suspect it will be a hot topic at National in a few weeks. Many of us are quite uncomfortable with where all this is going, honestly. And, not to harp on the gay angle, gay male erotica and gay male romances are a growing subgenre in the romance industry. Young women are gobbling this material up, and I don't know what to make of it. Is it just because it's "different"? Have young women emulated men for so long they now have more in common with gay men than they do their more traditional mothers, sisters, friends? Does this explain why so many young women today have closer gay male friends than they do women friends? I don't have any answers to these questions, but I'm troubled by this.

    Interestingly, however, many of our readers tell us they skip the sex scenes altogether. They truly ARE interested in the relationship stuff. They are drawn to a HEA (Happily Ever After) based on sacrifice and self-giving, whether they acknowledge this or not.

    1. The explanation I'm familiar with for why women are interested in same-sex "romance" writing is from the book "Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture" which is about the mostly-female culture of fan fiction. If I recall correctly (I read this many years ago) he analyzes the women's writing and their explanations of it, to interpret that for the women, so interested in relationships and feelings, it is about "ultimate friendship", wherein the "friends'" closeness and enjoyment of each other doesn't even stop short of sexual intimacy. I believe it was also noted that women authors of such masturbatory stories generally wrote the men characters as having emotional life and motivations more consistent with femininity, and this writing thus tended to differ significantly from same-sex erotica written by actual homosexual men. In reality this same-sex sexual "friendship" is the total perversion and prostitution of friendship and makes true friendship impossible. As a female sexual fantasy, this is very seriously disordered and will tend to strongly form women toward accepting fornication as legitimate acting upon friendship feelings (horribly damaging to women), and accepting and indeed idealizing and "romanticizing" homosexual behavior of others. Once someone holds these views, it is very difficult for them to come around to a Christian understanding of marriage, its sanctity, complementarity of man and woman, openness to new life etc. No one should fool themselves that sexual fantasy and smut stories are harmless recreation, it is adulterous, personally harmful, offends God, and we must turn away immediately when such things present themselves.

    2. Thanks Elizabeth! Whatever it is, it's a further and deeper confusing and obscuring of the image of God, male and female. Yes! It must be resisted, and helped and healed.

    3. My wife has gotten in on the QUEER AS FOLK trip and now is reading the online gay romance stuff INCESSANTLY!!! I have in the past and just like an alcoholic have had my own cross to bear with straight porn. She is probably reading this stuff because our marriage frankly is not happy. She wants to contracept and I refuse to, after my reversion. We are worlds apart on just about every issue and I pray and offer everything up for her and our kids, because we don't talk, that I can be of some use to HIM to get her to see that God loves HER. She has had other "relationships in her past" and I am not sure she even knows what it means to be treated like a woman created by God. HOW/WHAT can I as a man do that are very small things to get her to see this? St Theresa of Lisieux pray for us!

    4. Thanks for your honesty, Michael. All I can say is if you consistently, humbly love & serve your wife NO MATTER WHAT--this will be greater than any words you could say--especially since you are wondering if she was ever treated "like a woman created by God." I highly recommend the film "Fireproof" which starts w a marriage on the rocks, and how the husband (even though the wife didn't believe he had changed and was past the point of receiving his love) perseveres in selflessly loving her. God bless.

  12. Anonymous6:05 PM

    Wanted to add a "fun fact" -- Channing Tatum's character's secret desire is to be a...wait for it...carpenter! Hmmm. I wonder why THAT choice, when the story would have made sense if his secret passion was anything besides stripping.

    1. Thanks, Nina Marie! Wow--a real live romance writer! Thanks for sharing the inside scoop. Yes, that is odd: straight women reading gay romance. Hmmmm. If you figure out why, let me know! Maybe they just read ANY romance ("different" like you said)--could it be that they run out of "straight" romances because they're just such avid readers, or is there no chance of that? Please feel free to share your thoughts on this stuff any time! helraphaelfsp@aol.com God bless yoooooooooooo

    2. Anonymous6:09 PM

      Before my conversion I used to read (and on a few occasions, write) gay romance. It is hard to put my finger on exactly why I found it so appealing. I think because it was "new" and didn't feel so formulaic. It also made it okay for characters to be emotional - to have a woman be that way was too "stereotypical." Part of it was also the thrill that it was wrong - in fanfiction world, "slash" was about characters who were NOT gay who had gay attractions.

      It's also simply the "in" thing. Creating pairings that are as ridiculous as possible and seeing if you can "make it work." It was a writing challenge and if you were reading it, you could critique the author on whether or not she (usually) did a good job. Same with writing erotic fanfiction for novels that contained little to no sex scenes at all, or even romance.

    3. Wow! Thanks for this insight. It does make a kind of sense. Do you think because women are supposed to be "tough" today (like a man) and not be too "emotional"--that they are desperate for these other outlets for their emotional life? (Of course, emotions can be excessively stimulated, too....) One Catholic movie reviewer, Stephen Greydanus, also wonders: "if men were more romantic, maybe women wouldn't feel the need to fantasize about vampires"...? :]

    4. Anonymous2:08 PM

      And whenever women are tough, men become even tougher to suppress them.

  13. Thanks for the awesome post! It's great to read a straight-up simple explanation of things like celibacy vs. chastity, and all those topics that are confused in the mainstream so often.

  14. Anonymous10:06 PM

    Sister. I think you're hitting it on the head. Feminism has upset the balance of the genders. This nation is in the middle of a down-low gender war. You don't see it because it shows itself when people don't get married. Or it's hidden behind the doors of divorse and family court. Children are hurt, men are hurt and women are hurt. Men have been told since the 70s that they are worthless dogs who need to let women take control. How has that worked out so far?

    1. I'm sorry for truly good men who are told they are not.

  15. Good Post. Thanks.

  16. Thank you so much Sister. You cover so much in this review that I really appreciate and that speaks to me deeply. Thank you for your thoroughness and for preaching the truth. I'm going to read this and talk about it with my husband. Thank you for your service. Blessings, Kate Joy

  17. Thank you for reminding me of what it means to be a woman!


  18. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Magic Mike was an awesome movie!

  19. Anonymous11:49 AM

    Cganning Tatum is hot! Not the devil, quit being a freaking prude.

  20. Ha ha. I have eyes. I KNOW he's freaking hot. That's part of the problem!:] But...as a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback turned evangelist sez, "hot" itself is a porn term. Are human beings really "hot"? How about "handsome," "gorgeous," etc.
    Not As Prudish As You Think

  21. And furthermore, not only do I NOT think Channing is the devil, I think he's is a really smart dude. Runs his own career. Not full of himself. Speaks for himself, doesn't let his publicist speak for him. I have great hopes for Channing. Imagine what will happen when he discovers Theology of the Body!

    1. And, the best young actor of his generation. Pegged him for that a long time ago. He will only get better.

  22. Mollie Baker4:27 PM

    From the "Confessions of a Recovering Lesbian" blog post:

    "I’m not capable of re-ordering my broken sexuality, but as I’ve witnessed in the past decade, it can be reordered with grace and trust in Jesus. It just takes time and a desire to be healed."

    This comment really struck me. It takes a "desire to be healed." That one little statement opened my eyes to what's going on in our society. We have a nation of sick people who don't want to be healed. I don't understand it, but the evidence is everywhere—including in some of the responses to this blog!

  23. Ahhh! But the sickness feels so good, Mollie!
    Only a bigger pleasure trumps a smaller one. The only way we will delay gratification is if we believe a) there's a better way to do it b) there's something better in being offered/in store for us.

    The only transcendence the culture has left is sex. (The only ecstatic, through-the-body-to-beyond-the-body experience is sex.) And the culture is right! It IS all about the body/sex/love/beauty/relationships but that doesn't mean that it even knows what sex is or how to get the most out of it.

    If you ain't going to the Inventor of sex, the Source of all love and life (unless you are somehow "getting it right" because you are listening to the body/natural law) then you can have all the sex you want, but it won't satisfy.

    As a homeless person said: "There ain't no right way to do the wrong thing, even with the right stuff."

    The answer? THEOLOGY OF THE BODY. Go the Source and Fullness of all ecstacy, infinity, true love, unconditional love, joy, transcendence, pleasure, reality, mysticism, selfless love.

    God didn't just GIVE us sex. He INVENTED it. He CREATED Channing Tatum. God CAN'T be all that bad. Doing it HIS perfect way CAN'T be all that bad. :]

  24. Thank you for your wonderful post, Sister. As a man, it was a fascinating read, and very true :] I agree with almost all of it, though I have to say, the bit about men being wired to only be stimulated by visuals and physical externals is not almost true, and it doesn't have to be. I'm sure it was my mother who exerted a civilizing impact on me, but I certainly don't feel that way as a man. I literally cannot comfortably divorce personal and body in my head, it is natural for me, it's part of my nature, to be attracted to the entire person, Body and Soul, of a woman. The marital act is an act of self-giving and communion, it is the pure connection and harmony self-expressing-projection, spiritually and physically, of two Images of God, man and woman, and I don't see that as a feminine attitude or instinct at heart, I see it as truth that sets free. I don't see how you can be an honorable man who reverences a woman without learning to develop and integrate your God-given sexuality with your soul which must be virtuous and honorable toward women. When you integrate the two, soul and bodily, chaste sexuality, within the context of marriage, the result is this view of sex that, while it might come more naturally to women due to original sin, ought to be fully embraced by both spouses. I can't imagine the marital act without it.

    1. Thanks, Jonathan! Love to hear the guy's side!

  25. Gasp! I - the 26 year old chick in Tampa Bay (and on behalf of the Lightning, thank you!) - am both honored and grateful you shared a link to my sex essay on this post. Thank you, sincerely!

  26. Arleeeeeeeen! Your article is like, like, John Paul II wrote it himself or something!!! Seriously. Tha best! You have 5 e's in your name.

    Vinnie LeCavalier (Bolts) is my fav hockey player in NHL right now. Or maybe he's tied with the Hawks' Davie Bolland.

    1. LOL! Sr. Helena, you just keep making my day.

      Speaking of JP2, you might get as excited as I am that I finally finished reading Love and Responsibility this week. (I blogged about it here: http://arleenspenceley.blogspot.com/2012/07/books-in-2012-love-and-responsibility.html). I'd owned it three years and tried to read it twice before - but in my first two tries, my brain wasn't ready for the depth. In keeping with the sex theme I started by working on the essay for the paper, I dug it out of my stack of books and dug back in. BRILLIANT. It blew my mind, almost literally. One of the best books (maybe even the best) I've ever read. If I get married, I'm pretty sure everybody's going home with a copy (it's a way better wedding favor than candied almonds. Am I right, or am I right?).

    2. You and I must've been separated at birth. ha ha. How about L&R WITH the candied almonds to sweeten up the deal? A spoonful of sugar...BUT L&R is not medicine! I actually like it BETTER than the TOB text in some ways. Sometimes called the "Philosophy of the Body."

      Are you aware of the short, easy-read breakdown of "Love & Responsibility" by Edward Sri? "Men, Women & the Mystery of Love." Alot of people swear by it: http://www.amazon.com/Men-Women-Mystery-Love-Responsibility/dp/0867168404

    3. I think you might be right and/or on to something (re: both our separation at birth AND adding the almonds to the L&R wedding favor).

      And WHAT. I was not aware of the easy-read breakdown (but according to Amazon, it will arrive at my house in five to eight business days - I'm a little impulsive with the book buying). Thanks so much for the tip! I'm very interested in following up L&R with it.

      I've actually never read the TOB text. :-/ I've wanted to, or at least to read something TOB-related, for awhile now. I do own "TOB for Beginners." I skimmed it, but I just couldn't get into it. L&R was def my cup o' tea. My heart skips a beat sincerely when I think about all I just read in it. So. Good!

  27. Theology of the Body: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Catechesis-on-Human-Love/138444476259047

  28. Anonymous8:51 AM

    WOW - what a write up! Now this is a movie review. You just gained a new follower Sister.

    Jason @ Ascending Mount Carmel

  29. Terrific post, Sister, and I'm glad I discovered your blog. I've written about the 50 Shades phenomenon as not only a symptom of disordered understanding of sexuality, but also a disordered relationship with religion. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/egregioustwaddle/2012/06/of-divine-bondage-when-the-ties-of-religion-unravel.html

    I am an old single feminist-in-the-real-sense revert who is pretty much past having to make too many decisions about chastity (mostly due to lack of occasion :) ) but I am glad that my long nurtured dislike for Matthew McConnaughey---creepy, creepy, creepy is the only read I get from him---kept me from joining younger friends for the movie.

    I continue to struggle with many aspects of the Church's teachings on gender and sexuality, so I appreciate your straightforward approach. "Who are the sexiest men alive? Family men"---brilliant, and totally true.

    1. May I shamelessly and highly recommend: "Women, Sex and the Church--A Case for Catholic Teaching"--a compilation of (very readable) women scholars? http://store.pauline.org/English/Books/tabid/126/List/0/ProductID/3332/Default.aspx?txtSearch=women%2c+sex+and+the+church&SortField=ProductName%2cProductName

  30. Loved it! Thanks so much!! #coolestnunever :)

  31. Anonymous7:16 PM

    Sister- I am curious where the picture of great number of priests and nuns comes from. It looks like somewhere in India perhaps? It's an amazing shot. And thank you for the great article...the picture was not the only thing I noticed!

    1. Good ole Google images. :] "priests and nuns" Of course, a lot of unsavory stuff. Put you're "safe search" on. ha ha

  32. Anonymous8:29 PM

    Great work Sister! Keep it up!

    (Mom of 7, married to one of the truly great men!)

    1. Good men just blow me away today, cuz it's soooo easy for them not to be.

      I think there's just a lot of CONFLICTED MEN out there:

      1) the culture just says: go for it, use women
      2) women just say: go for it, use me
      2) their buddies socialize them (tremendous pressure to "prove manhood," unlike women who don't have to "prove womanhood") to go for it and use women
      3) women are so sexually aggressive today they will initiate sex and put a man down (and publicize their "rejection"!) if he doesn't go along
      4) men's reputations are riding on how many women they can make conquests
      5) there still a lot of natural male/female differences in the culture (see "conquests" above--no sexual "equality" there!) but there's also feminist demands so that guys are often tongue-tied, and don't exactly know what's "expected" of them or what will "offend"
      6) I always ask young guys if they get flak (from women) for holding open doors for them. One 14 yr old guy says: "Oh yeah, but I don't care, I'm gonna keep on doing it, cuz I know why I'm doing it."

      Guys need to be sure of themselves, decide what they believe and STAND STRONG. It is VERY ATTRACTIVE to a woman when a guy is HIS OWN MAN. (We KNOW guys need their buddies, but when he has the COURAGE to go against the band of brothers when necessary? Wow. That means he won't compromise when it comes to his girlfriend/wife/kids, either. A woman really needs to see that.)

    2. Anonymous2:05 PM

      Also, if women use men, men will snap too. Men hate being used. Sexually aggressive women use men. Women who ride on many men to make conquests get treated harshly. Women shouldn't hold doors open for men, nor do anything chivalrous for them. Yes, girls are pressured to prove their femininity by being helpless, aloof, make a man jealous, and quiet. They will compromise when it comes to their husband/boyfriend/kids. Women are far more conflicted than men. A good woman is hard to find.

      Also, everytime a woman is bad, she faces tougher consequences and a bad reputation compared to a man in the same manner. No one ever forgives her, not even her husband/boyfriend/kids etc. They all hate her.

    3. Anonymous4:50 PM

      Another thing, it's acceptable to have relations with married, engaged, or committed women but it's dangerous. You risk a violent husband, fiance, or boyfriend. Chivalry to taken women is also risky too. That means holding doors open for her in front of her husband, fiance, or boyfriend. Men get jealous and paranoid easily when another man is a gentleman to their wife, fiancee, or girlfriend. They think the other gentleman is luring her away from him.

  33. wow!!! thank you!

  34. That was a great read and review. I did go see the movie not because I thought any of those guys were "hot" attractive or whatever. My biggest surprise was that it was ONLY rated R. That was a lot for a rated R movie I thought. I am okay, personally with R rated movies, if the story is worth it. A war movie will probably be rated R but so is war. The acting parts of the movie were actually good, decent, not great. The rest of it wasn't great, it actually did nothing to support the story what-so-ever.

    That a side, I loved the way you put feminism into perspective. I paraphrased it on my own facebook post as Feminism wasn't about equality it was about having a reason to reject morals. Women were already emulating "good men" by being women; faithful, committed, valuing sex as the prize of a committed relationship.

    From now on, if I am viewed as a prude for being chaste (not abstinate) until marriage then I will simply point out that I am emulating a better man.

    1. Ha ha! Yes--even just READING about what was in the film seemed a bit NC-17 to me....

  35. I wanted to thank you for a wonderful post, and for your wonderful work. I am a Christian, though not Catholic (was raised one, though) and feel it's VERY important that we talk to our teens about sex and God and the Bible, and not treat it like the elephant in the room. Thank you!

  36. Anonymous4:09 AM

    This is a really well written article, but i think this article is, also, getting a lot of attention because it is about something that is so fundamental to human existence: human sexuality. With human sexuality closely bound up with so many virtues and vices, joys and miseries, blessings and sins.
    So often the secular world seems to have centre stage in its view of human sexuality that so often can be crude and irreverent about this topic. Whilst religious people can be coy about discussing it.
    I think we Catholics (and other Christians) CAN have an unhealthy view of human sexuality because there is an unhealthy element of gnosticism (although we hate to admit it) in our views of the body and sex (and this is prudishness / puritanism).
    Also, perhaps we think that becase Jesus, Mary and Joseph were celibate that sex is wrong. No. Focusing on Jesus (as space is limited), Jesus was celibate because his relationship with man is beyond sex - it is the relationship of God with man (as well as his human relationship with us). Sex is just a non-issue. But that doesn't make sex between married people is wrong or un any sense dirty.
    Also, i think all people (religious and non-religious) can be prudish about human sexuality because we live in such a rationalized world that people become suspicious of sexual instinct as if it is something base or low.
    At the end of the day sexual instinct, i think, is closely bound up with the element of the ecstatic of God / Heaven. And that we have to allign our sexuality with God's will. So in married life, couples experience something of creative ecstasy in procreation and new life (as well as ecstasy of intimate love between a married couple). And in celibate life (and eveyone should experience celibate life from one degree to another - singles living fully celibate lives, but, also, married couples experiencing celibacy at certain times) the needs / desires of the body are sustained, spiritually (with the spiritual being a real life force not just a nice idea) and physically through prayer, following God's will, the Eucharist and the sacraments, as well as fasting, leisure (ie the arts), and physical activity. It's not about repressing human sexuality (unless in extreme moments of temptation - God forbid, and deliver from anything that might lead us to sin) but having human sexuality transformed into holiness - which ultimately comes from loving God (and neighbour in general) as prescribed by God in the Bible and as we intuit, with the sings of this great love for God (and neighbour) resulting in ecstasy of the soul and body (with the soul and body being intimately intertwined) and at its most extreme (with flawed human beings that is) in saints such as Teresa of Avila and Francis of Assisi.
    I think. What do you think?
    God bless, Ed

  37. Anonymous4:29 AM

    "That celibate life is sustained spiritually and physically" but in non-sexual sense and that "ecstasy of the soul and body", again, in non-sexual way.
    So both married and single people can both experience divine ecstasy (but in different ways - although married people, in addition to experiencing celibate-like celibacy, also, experience ecstasy of the marriage bed - but singles will technically experience ecstasy of the celibate life more intensely).
    Also, we have to do something with this sexual energy (made wholesome and good through divine grace and that becomes a holy kind of energy or life force). We must, of course, use this energy or life force to love God (through prayer, carrying out God's will) as well as to love others (parents loving their children, in particular, but anyone who practices celibacy to love people in general).

    1. Preach it, "Anonymous Ed"! ha ha

      Yeah. I think you got Theology of the Body right on. :]

  38. Anonymous4:43 AM

    "It's not about repressing human"
    - although we have to fight sins of the flesh, as well as unchaste thoughts (in reality the temptation to think unchaste thoughts can, of course, crop up a lot - and in the short term we have to mentally fight them, and in a sense repress them but this is not the same as repressing human sexuality in general; and long-term, in order to handle temptations of the flesh and unchaste thoughts, we have to develop a real prayer life, really work hard at following God's will, the sacraments, as well as fast from time to time, take lots of exercise if we can, nourish our minds with nature and the arts and so on
    (apologies for monopolizing space, but there seems a real need to qualify previous points as i don't want to suggest anything harmful / that might be perceived as undermining the teachings of the Church)

  39. Anonymous12:22 PM

    People who don't read a particular book or don't see a certain movie should not write a review or preach on them. If you feel you most likely will criticize a book or movie just on 'what you've heard' you do not do it justice until you have read or viewed the entire book or movie.

  40. Sister,

    This is awesome. As a brother, son, seminarian, Thank you!

  41. I have to say I respectfully disagree - this is, in my opinion, quite sexist, though with good intentions.

    1. Thanks, Ben. What do you mean by "sexist"? That I say men and women are different?

  42. Anonymous1:00 PM

    Thank you for this review. I was planning on seeing this movie with a group of women from church and I hadn't really given the morality of it much thought. My son wanted to go see the movie Ted and I gave him a whole speech about not caving to peer pressure, being a witness for Christ etc. He fired back with how is that different from what your doing. He chose a different movie and I didn't go with the women. I googled movie reviews and found this one which I passed on to a couple of women in the group. I was disappointed that they still went to see. These women are EME's, choir members, religious Ed instructor's and one is the wife of a deacon. They also belong to different religious lay groups that provide formation. I was just surprised at their willful ignorance. Thank you for your thorough coverage of the topic and all the references you cited for additional reading.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Anonymous11:58 PM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Ah! Here it is, "Dynamic Deacon" Harold Burke-Sivers socking it to "church ladies" for going to see "Magic Mike":

      Yes! I'm "hearing" a lot of MEN questioning women: Oh, you tell us female stripping and porn is bad--well, what about "Magic Mike" and "50 Shades of Grey"?

      (Start at 3:33)


  44. I am offering all my hardships of this day for your work in glorifying the Lord Hel Burns ! God Bless

    1. Thanks, Gabe! This means a lot--you have no idea. AND I'm a huge fan of the Archangel Gabriel: patron of ALL communications media! :]

  45. Anonymous4:39 PM

    First time I have read this - how inspiring. The feminists today have no conception of the things unleashed by the sex revolution - which had nothing to do with real sex and everything to do with its loss.

  46. I just did a radio show today on gains/losses of feminist movement with awesome call-in guests:


  47. Is there a way that I can post the link to this great review without the immodest pictures showing up on the Facebook post?

  48. Hi Brian,

    If you simply copy and paste in a Word doc, you can remove whatever pics you don't want. You can create your own FB "note" out of it and share it that way. Please just put that it's from www.hellburns.blogspot.com

    Thanks & God bless!

  49. Leilani10:53 AM

    From a Mormon mama to you...amazing post!

  50. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Sr Helena,
    I, also, wanted to bring in Shakespeare into this discussion.
    I have often used Shakespeare's The Tempest to help me be chaste (but just one tool amongst many - other tools include: humour, exercise, sport, the arts - and of course, prayer, connecting with God spiritually, and spiritually and physically through the Eucharist, and so on, but the last are far more than just "tools").
    Shakespeare, of course is not didactic. He is poetic. Caliban represents many things. One thing, and very importantly, i think: man whose sexuality is out of kilter with divine grace. Caliban is overly earthy. His sexuality, perverse. But when inspired by divine grace, his sexuality is harnessed into (extraordinary) creative energy, with the result we get, i think, the most beautiful poetry in all of Shakespeare's plays (with Shakespeare evoking the divine / heavenly / the divinely ecstatic):

    Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
    Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
    Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
    Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
    That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
    Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
    The clouds methought would open, and show riches
    Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
    I cried to dream again.

    With Prospero, a sort of opposite to Caliban. A man overly rational (in the sense of neglecting the more instinctive / human side of his nature. And Ariel, also, a sort of opposite to Caliban, an airy figure, the opposite to the earthy Caliban - and i think is given the most beautiful poetry in Shakespeare's (along with Caliban - with the following, i see, having something to do with the glorified, Heavenly body after mortal death:

    Full fadom five thy Father lies,
          Of his bones are Corrall made:
    Those are pearles that were his eies,
          Nothing of him that doth fade,
    But doth suffer a Sea-change
    Into something rich, & strange:
    Sea-Nimphs hourly ring his knell.
    Harke now I heare them, ding-dong, bell.

    But this is literature and so open to interpretation (others might have different views!).

    God bless,
    Ed (UK)

  51. Anonymous1:44 PM

    Lastly, for another topic (but related), the importance of the arts and poetry in Christian life, and making the "Good News" inspirational NOT just didactic (not forgetting the beautiful parables of Jesus - Charles Dickens commented the parable of the Prodigal Son was the best short story ever! Consider the beautiful, poetic imagery of the Jesus and the Bible in general, and just consider metaphors such as "The Great Wedding Feast", and consider how a poetic mind dispels a legalistic minded and how Jesus was passionate in challenging legalism. And the importance St Augustine gave to pointing out allegory in the Bible (and much that ISN'T allegorical but literal).
    And consider the importance of poetry to that great Catholic priest, St John of the Cross (regarded by the Spaniards as one of their greatest poets, secular or religious) in evoking God to us (and of course the importance of the arts in Christianity in general - to flesh out theology, to make theology human and inspirational - whatever that theology is).
    Lastly, and the importance of the arts and the artistic mind in evangelization (as well as science and philosophy - to flesh out theology, to make the Bible inspiring, not just didactic - The Good News, The Great News of Christianity!)
    (lastly, in terms of evangelization, the arts - leading to an artistic mind - are really more about bringing out what is inspirational in the Bible, and communicating the didactic through this)
    (and this has just made me think now of the importance of the arts in imagination, and the importance of imagination in prayer and so on)
    And, lastly, as mentioned in last comment, hoe enjoying the arts can be one useful tool in being chaste.
    (not forgetting there are good and bad arts)
    APOLOGIES for going on and if all this seems obvious ..
    Ed (UK)

    1. As our Founder, Blessed James Alberione used to say:
      ANCIENT SPIRIT/FORMS/TRUTHS/WISDOM but NEW FORM/WAYS/METHODS/MEDIA. Otherwise we wouldn't need a NEW Evangelization!

  52. Anonymous2:00 PM

    An artistic/imaginative mind can lead to heresy (and / or entertaining but not teaching the truth). But a non-artistic/non-imaginative mind can lead to legalism (and / or being didactic without being inspirational).
    Legalism is as bad and dangerous as heresy.
    So as ever, we have to be humble in following the teachings and doctrine of the bishops, above all the Pope, but be adventerous and imaginative in how we approach scripture and our religion in general!
    Sorry for monologue! I would love a dialoge if anyone is interested - in particular how it relates to Theology of the Body (sorry, gone a bit off-track in last two comments).
    Ed (UK)

    1. Ed! No need to apologize! SHAKESPEARE & THEOLOGY OF THE BODY???? Awesome idea! And who better to do it than a Brit! ;] Seriously, that is so exciting. I love pairing TOB up with EVERYTHING, but imagine Shakey's sonnets???

  53. Anonymous4:59 PM

    Such an amazing post, Sister. You perfectly articulate everything I find so wrong about this kind of thing but have never been able to find the words to express. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  54. If it weren't for BJP2G, I wouldn't have the words, either! :]

  55. I have no interest in seeing this movie, but a friend recommended this article, and you make such a wonderful point at the very beginning! Feminists, in wanting to be just like men, “have what men have,” unwittingly labeled women’s ways as inferior, and set about obliterating the feminine. I had never read that expressed before, and you are so right. Thank you.

  56. I had plans to go see the movie for a 'girl's night out' and just hours before I was set to leave, I read your blog post. It took me a while to decide that it was ME that you were speaking to and that I had an even more important decision to make that involved risking offending my girlfriends instead of offending my husband. My girlfriends forgave me when I called to cancel! For a lot of faithful Catholic women, deciding not to see this movie was a no-brainer. But for me and my friends, it took a little wake up call that this one might just be a little more "of the world" than "in the world". I posted your blog post on my Facebook page and told about my decision not to see the film. (Hope you got some traffic from it!) The response was really good. I even had a male friend tell me that it was enlightening information for the MEN to read, too. :) In fact, I was thinking the same thing... if women are looking for leadership from their husbands (and who is not looking for that?), then men need to know that it's important for them to express how their wife's decision to see a film like this is an affront to their relationship. I'm glad I found your article before I saw the film. Thank you!

    1. Wow. I'm humbled that you didn't go cuz of this blog post! Yeah, I could tell a lot of men were disturbed that girlfriends, wives, etc., were going to see "Magic Mike" (as well as reading "50 Shades"). The buzz online was like: Yeah, you tell us not to use porn, go see strippers...what's so different about this? But men have been silenced in the Sexual Revolution, so a lot of guys say nothing.

      I like how you put it: "an affront to their relationship." It's hard enuf to keep things from "coming between you"--who needs this? :]

    2. Anonymous11:58 AM

      Every man is always going to be disturbed by their wife or girlfriend looking at other men in front of them, especially looking at male porn stars in porn. Men will say everything about this and even abuse women lusting after other men. Domestic violence is high because we are presenting men as sex objects to be lusted after and disposed later on and men are taking steroids and pumping up to look like these men their wives or girlfriends look at and to look better than them.

  57. Ed (UK)8:08 AM

    Sister Helena,

    What are "imagination" and "emotion" in Christian mystical life? Do they have value in Christian prayer / mystical life? Are / how are they connected to Theology of the Body?

  58. "Imagination" and "emotion" are huge in Christian life. Gifts from God! "Mystical" simply means "most real." We tend to think of "mystical" as more ethereal and UNreal, but mystical means "most real," because God is most real, and the more we're in tune with Him, the more "mystical" our life is.

    Wow. How connected to Theology of the Body? That's huge! Have you read "Love & Responsibility"? That's Karol Wojtyla's (BJP2G's) "philosophy of the body." You should find some stuff in there. But artists are going nuts with Theology of the Body also and giving us their take on it. I'm sure there's stuff out there that I'm just not aware of!

  59. On EWTN, Deacon Harold gave a homily on MAGIC MIKE, it starts at 5 minute mark:

    1. Ha! Yeah--I saw that. We need to cut Deacon H loose!!! Give the man his own SHOW already!!! :]

  60. Anonymous12:04 PM

    Great post Sister Helena...it wasn't until I converted to Catholicism (as of May '12) that I've been exposed to so much knowledge about our bodies and souls, sexuality, etc. etc. to such depth. It's really just amazing that all of this is out there and that as a Protestant I had no idea. Thank you for this post...definitely something I will keep "favorited" on my twitter account so I can keep coming back to it. God Bless!

  61. Anonymous7:46 PM

    Why are you people afraid of a bunch of dicks flapping around?

  62. No fear--just the opposite! Those d***s are SACRED.

  63. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Reading this made me want to puke. There is more then just your view on things lady. I think religion is just a way for people to get rid of their guilt. p.s. there is nothing wrong with sex. EVERYONE DOES IT. IT'S NATURAL.

  64. Anonymous9:54 PM

    Truth is, when women lust after men, men don't want to be lusted after. It destroys their masculinity.

    It's not natural for men to exhibit themselves in a sexual way as the "prize" to be gained.

    True. And it's not natural for women to look at men with lust. Men will snap. And also women who are cads, tools, playgirls, maneaters, any type of promiscuous women, BAD WOMEN, pay a higher price than men in the same manner. They could end up pregnant and have STDs. Men still hold the upper hand.

    In addition, most devout Christian men will even forbid their wives to go to male strip clubs too or look at men in porn.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      I think you and I have a lot in common. :) The Sexual Revolution--which was supposed to be good for women in particular was horrific for women instead. Something needed to change (misogyny, abuse, oppression, sexual harrassment, the glass ceiling, etc.), but the culture changed in a very bad way for women (even though some good gains were made), and many women still don't see that! The Sexual Revolution became pure license for MEN and complete dismissing of MEN from any kind of sexually responsible behavior (and abuse of women worsened). Just look at a mega-popular, ground-breaking "comedy" like "Animal House" (1976). This film is so filled with disdain for and the degradation of women that you want to cry (not to mention female child rape).

      Channing was right when he said he felt like a fool during his stripper days....

    2. Anonymous1:55 PM

      And if women rape men, men can rape them back. Same goes for female-on-male sexual harassment. And with feminism, men are trying to regain control over women and go back to the way things are naturally. As for women picking up gigolos, male escorts, male strippers, etc., it's very dangerous. Not only they end up with STDs and unwanted and extramarital pregnancies, but they can end up getting raped, kidnapped or murdered by male sex workers. In other words, feminism and the sexual revolution caused men to retaliate and regain control as well as force women to go back to their roles because they felt emasculated. And the film, Magic Mike degrades men but it also causes men to be abusive to their wife or girlfriend whenever they watch the movie and start lusting after the men in it. Same goes for Playgirl magazine as well as other magazines that feature immodest and scantily-clad men.

    3. Anonymous5:28 PM

      Men's bodies are not objects at all. Even people want women to get harsher sentences for sex crimes, especially male child rape, compared to men because they believe women should not want sex nor be sexually aggressive as well as degrade men and emasculate them. Men are still the dominant sex and will always be because that's how God intended them to be and there is no way women can get away with their sexual appetites, or desires, or lust. In other words, you probably should teach women not to look at men as (sex) objects nor lust after them because it's dangerous since we live in a patriarchal, male-heavy world. Female (sexual) objectification of men makes men feel emasculated and therefore causes them to be aggressive and violent.

    4. There are still taboos about the female gaze. Any woman is a whore if she looks at men.

  65. I did a 90-page paper on the history of Women in Film and the two women who wrote the first two books on the subject (both written in 1973)--although (or because!) they were huge feminists, KNEW something had gone radically wrong with the Sexual Revolution and they saw it turning on women immediately.... They were very despairing of the Sexual Revolution as they saw it unfolding just in the late 60's and early 70's....

    1. Anonymous1:07 PM

      In other words, women get bad karma more often for being sexually aggressive and coercive towards men because men are physically stronger and bigger and can fight back real easily which means a sexually aggressive and coercive woman too. The reason why patriarchal attitudes still exist is to prevent women from these types of behaviors towards men. Men feel insecure and want to be in control.

    2. Anonymous12:29 PM

      And men hate being sexually harassed by women as well. It also emasculates them. Even if a woman tries to rape a man, he will rape her back. Women ought to be careful not to approach men, give them sexual comments, nor be chivalrous to them. Men can lash out easily at women like that.

  66. Anonymous11:52 PM

    Yes, married Christian women watch porn and end up getting beaten up by their husbands and children.

    1. Anonymous8:34 PM

      And everytime a woman gets aroused visually, she gets verbal, physical, and sexual abuse too.

  67. Anonymous12:43 PM

    No man doesn't want to be objectified by women. And men will be bitchy and violent whenever slutty, creepy perverted whores hit on them.

  68. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Even male prostitutes and male strippers can rape.

  69. Anonymous6:19 PM

    And society shames the female gaze more often. Any woman who gazes at a man's body is considered a slut too. In other words, female lust is punished more often which is why parents arrange marriages for their daughters just so that way they don't lust after men for sex.

  70. Anonymous5:18 PM

    And therefore, lecherous women get raped, abused, and labeled as whores and sluts whenever they prey on men.

  71. And women can never do what they want with male strippers. A lot of times male strippers can sexually assault them for being aggressive and grabbing their lower body parts. Women assaulting men is never taken lightly, we call them whores, sluts, etc. and think they deserve a harsher prison sentence because it is not right for women to be forward and open with men.

    1. We all must put women back in their own place. That means we men must do it too. Women should never be equal to men nor be dominant. It's unfeminine. They should be inferior and subordinate which makes them sound more feminine.

  72. Women who are visually aroused are whores and society punishes them for it.

  73. Anonymous11:44 PM

    Most men will give the evil eye when women make the first move.

  74. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Looking at the male body is still taboo for women.

  75. Soderbergh's film clears a new space for the playing out of human dreams and desires.

  76. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Women are whores if they treat men as objects.

  77. It is really interesting post. I never read such kind of post. It impressed me. Thanks for sharing…

  78. thank you for some of these web articles is very impressive and qualified to compete alat bantu seksualitas and may continue to post quality articles article and useful for everyone

  79. OOOOO MYYYY GODDD!!!! THIS WAS THEE BEST POST ON SEXUALITY, FEMININITY, AND MARRIAGE I HAVE READ IN A VERY, VERY LONG TIME. You are amazing sister. I am saving this article forever and ever. Theology of the Body is absolutely amazingly beautiful and true.