Sexuality & Family

The second pillar of a decent society is the institution of the family, which is built upon the comprehensive sexual union of man and woman. No other institution can top the family’s ability to transmit what is pivotal—character formation, values, virtues, and enduring love—to each new generation.

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Feminism has never been a phrase without its detractors—many men in the 1800s very much did see women as “skin and bones.” But today, Catholics seem to be split over the virtues and vices of the word “feminist” more than ever before.
Barnes repeatedly emphasizes the many parents or clinic employees who had tried to sound the alarm but whose warnings were ignored by clinic authorities. But Barnes is loath to draw any firm conclusions from these stories. Her cautious wording and frequent qualifiers undermine some of the book’s most important points and questions. 
Writer Rachel Lu recently penned an essay in these pages that engages my book as an example of what she calls “anti-feminist” work. Lu draws some surprising conclusions about my book that, I think, are not representative of my work. She makes four overarching points to which I would like to respond.
If Ms. Cox is unwilling to parent a disabled child, she should terminate her parental rights upon birth, giving others the chance to show charity to a small but greatly treasured life. To hold that child’s hand as he or she drew a final breath would be to sit on hallowed ground.
In reality, the initial question of “Should we reject feminism?” is reductive to the point of making little sense. It invites no clear “yes” or “no” answer because the term “feminism” has no clear and consistent definition, and “feminism’s” effects have been both good and bad in ways that are now deeply intertwined. 
This is not an easy time to be a bishop, especially as the DDF fosters confusion, but every bishop is called to lead the faithful into a deeper relationship with Christ through the Church. This requires heroic charity that embraces the sinner while being truthful to the Gospel. Jesus never blessed sin, and neither should the Church. His love for each of us is a love that calls us out of sin, which requires a recognition that some things are incompatible with the blessing of the Church.
Approaching conversations about the mental load with gratitude rather than resentment is the first step toward a more joyful home. Even if we want our spouse to take more responsibility, we can begin by thanking him for the things we see him do. We can discuss what’s going on beneath the surface when something feels amiss. And we can apologize for, and seek to change, our own selfishness, no matter how it manifests. 
Six panelists share how they structure their lives in a way that allows them to pursue creative, intellectually inspiring work, while remaining open to life and faithful to the good work of the home.
Our culture’s sexual lens distorts the raison d’etre of society, leading teenagers to believe that the body and mind have no tie. 
Recent revelations about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse underscore certain blunt realities about men, women, and sex. How can we confront those realities in a way that leads to less sexual violence?
In the past fifteen years, we’ve published articles on the moral, cultural, religious, and political issues of our time, including the most controversial and sensitive; but we have done so in a manner of which we can be proud, respecting the intellect and personhood of our readers, interlocutors, and intellectual contestants.
If sexual attraction is one powerful force that God built into the world to counteract the individual’s inclination to self-absorption, then the combination of technological and cultural assaults on this urge doesn’t threaten only the formation of families, the basic unit of society. It also threatens something even more foundational: the nature of the person as a social being.
“My book is based on a series of dangerous ideas that have led us to where we are now. Beginning with the insidious theories of John Money, these ideas progressed through the fields of psychology and psychiatry and eventually infiltrated our educational and legal systems—corrupting many of the country’s most powerful institutions.”
What the sexual revolution began by upsetting gender roles and obscuring the necessary link between marriage and procreation, the reproductive revolution continues, shattering our conceptions of motherhood and fatherhood and severing the bond between parents and children.
Social capital has been studied by a variety of scholars across the political spectrum for decades now. But one area that deserves more focus from policymakers is the crucial formation we receive in earliest years of life, ages zero to three. As attachment theory suggests, the care and support we receive—or don’t receive—during these years play a vital role in our ability to attain and preserve social capital throughout our lives.
On both a social and individual level, we should structure our work in ways that leave margin for relationships, allowing us the space to respond to the unpredictable needs and gifts of the people we encounter in our homes and communities.
Prioritizing support to homemakers who care for children and the elderly is not only the right thing to do—it’s also a smart economic decision for the federal government.
In our cultural moment, an embodied, relational feminism—one that does not see sexual difference as a threat—has to be reactionary; it is counter-cultural by default. Those hoping to realize that vision need to be against progress, but also for something more stable and enduring: a feminist movement that recognizes and embraces the limits of our nature, as well as norms that steward that nature; that guard it from pathological excess and enervation.
People of all faiths have heard enough talk about children’s “bodily autonomy,” or their supposed ability to express informed consent. As we are witnessing, mothers and fathers remain a powerful bastion of reason in our new post-gender turn, because they display with and in and through their bodies the reality that Roe sought to hide or ignore.
June 24th is the feast day marking the birth of John the Baptist, and it is also the anniversary of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade’s false declaration that there is a constitutional right to abortion. John the Baptist is an appropriate hero of faith for us this month: he began his life as a witness for the sanctity of unborn life, and ended it as a martyr for marriage.
Any talk about masculinity today can easily veer into predictable patterns: a left that paints with uncritically broad brushes, and a right that gets defensive and in the process dumbs down its beliefs. But Richard Reeves’s book Of Boys and Men avoids predictability, blending statistical insight and easygoing wit to craft a fruitful exploration of male malaise.
Parenting is peaceful in the deepest meaning of the term, which is when we understand, embrace, love, and find joy in one another as gift. By emphasizing the peace of parenthood, we might provide a useful corrective to the prevailing cultural narrative that views the enterprise with such ambivalence. While familiar notions of parenting as happy, rewarding, stressful, or intense tell us something, they don’t quite capture the whole story.
Over the past several decades, our civilization has experimented with a number of alternatives to faithful marriage. Yet the evidence is abundant that from a personal as well as a public perspective, we are most likely to flourish when faithful, monogamous, natural-law marriages are plentiful and the norm.
If The Nursery is a tale of motherhood, it is only a half-truth. Yes, giving birth to a child will leave you sleep deprived and emotional and physically scarred. That’s only half of the story.

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