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Pillar

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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It is precisely to express Christ’s love that the Catholic Church has so many caring ministries: for the sick, for women in crisis pregnancies, for migrants, for the poor, and for others on the margins—including transgender-identifying people. Amid the debates over how to best care for those struggling with gender identity, the Department of Health and Human Services proposes so-called “nondiscrimination” rules that would prevent our ministries from helping people.
Families, religious communities, community organizations, and public policymakers must work together toward a great goal: strengthening marriage so that each year more children are raised by their own mother and father in loving, lasting marital unions.
The law is a teacher, and the “Respect for Marriage Act” is a bad one. Enshrining legal lies about the truth of marriage harms all of society, most especially children. From facile heterosexual marriage dissolutions to novel family arrangements, children are harmed when their rights to their own mother and father are disregarded for the sake of adult desires.
Helen Joyce’s Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality is a tour de force, taking the reader through the recent history and current state of transgenderism. By tracing the development of gender ideology, and the mechanisms of its contagion among staggering numbers of young people, especially girls, the book does much to restore our collective sanity. But in the end, Joyce’s argument for the importance of the sex distinction is too thin.
Our culture seems to think that almost no behavior is off limits, no matter how dangerous or even deadly, if engaged in for erotic reasons. We’ve forgotten the harsh lessons about our bodily limits that HIV/AIDS taught us, and instead we embrace a sexual ethic of non-judgmentalism and autonomy. Monkeypox reminds us of our natural limits—and the consequences of ignoring them.
Tearing Us Apart is just the book we need: it understands and works within our current rhetorical and political impulses. Unfortunately, it is silent on specific policies to address how to reduce abortion demand. Nonetheless, with pro-life leaders like Anderson and DeSanctis at the helm, we have every reason to believe that the future of our movement will be guided, not by ideology, but by what will best serve the good of babies, women, and families.
An important new study finds that the informed-consent process that governs “transitioning” is too often more of a box-checking exercise than a serious discussion and deliberation. The study concludes that clinicians in the rapidly growing transgender industry have gone beyond simple negligence or incompetence; instead, they are engaging in demonstrably unethical practices.
In light of both Ukraine’s cultural stance on LGBTQ issues and the data showing drawbacks of same sex parenting, a presidential fiat legalizing same-sex marriage would be an affront to the nation. Furthermore, any capitalizing on Ukraine’s current dependence on the US and EU governments by encouraging its ideological colonization in the utter absence of popular support would be not virtuous but vicious.
With the Dobbs decision, many moms and their babies will no longer bear abortion’s hidden costs. In the longer term, we must make abortion a choice that no woman wants in the first place.
If a post-Roe future is defined by even deeper divisions and bare-knuckle election politics, and not by a cultural shift in our thinking about how to not only protect innocent life but to support the parents who give and nurture that life, then we will have failed—again.
The contemporary distinction between sex and gender downgrades human beings to “biological” males or females with detached “identities.” We should reject this, and insist instead that sexual difference is a fundamental component of personality, one of its modes of being.
Metamorphosis—changing into something you’re not—used to be seen as a damaging ordeal, but it is now depicted in many children’s books as an achievement to be celebrated. To guide children away from such destructive messages, parents can turn to the wisdom of old books that promote traditional accounts of selfhood.
The persistent cultural trend away from family life and childbirth is deeply troubling, not just because of its demographic implications, but because it means denying core characteristics of what it means to be human: our need for connection and our desire for meaning.
Liz Scheier’s memoir tells of navigating the extreme emotional turbulence of life as the child of a dishonest parent. Though she is fascinated by deceit and believes we are naturally drawn to liars, her own story explains how she built a new life based on trust, forgiveness, and enduring love.
A vision of control based on ambition, education, and income has come to dominate professional-class perspectives on having children, but we should reject these mistaken cultural pressures and remember that truly abundant life is achieved through giving and receiving love.
The way out of rushing to surgical interventions lies in acknowledging that transgender identification has deep roots in the psyche and evaluating gender distress through the lens of adverse childhood experiences.
Are Big Tech and social media entirely to blame for the triumphs of the erotic, the therapeutic, and the transgender? Of course not. But there is no question the dominant social media companies have seriously contributed to these trends.
The recent debates surrounding Florida’s anti-grooming bill raise questions not just about education, but about who has the right to direct the moral formation of children. Activist educators believe they should hold this power, regardless of parental concerns. But their agenda is based on the false idea that children can be intrinsically LGBT, and it is therefore necessary to stop educators proselytizing on behalf of such identities.
Righteous anger is often good and necessary. But not all parents are comfortable with confrontation, and even fewer enjoy the option of placing their children in saner institutions or schooling at home. I’m convinced that parents can be very effective in less noisy, more behind-the-scenes ways.
The majority of parents are very angry about everything that has happened—not just the masking, not just the closing schools, but the combination of all of that. And it’s the fact that the people on the school boards, and Democratic politicians, by and large, just refuse to admit that this was wrong, and that it had consequences. And when they refuse to do that, why on earth would anyone vote for them again?
A nation could recover from the loss of scores of men, as the twentieth century’s postwar societies all did. But it has no future without women and children and the moral order of the family and society that these not only represent but constitute. Civilization hinges on women.
While the legal end to abortion will be an important step in the pro-life movement, we also need to shift away from the sexually permissive culture that has resulted in high demand for abortions. Modern feminism’s widespread dissatisfaction with the “anything goes” approach to sex could spell renewed interest in restraint, commitment, and even the good of children—all themes and virtues that the Bible displays with wisdom.
Amia Srinivasan’s The Right to Sex, published last September, explores not only the question of sex and to whom it is owed, but also the rise and corporatization of the modern feminist movement, among other topics. Some of Srinivasan’s arguments sound surprisingly conservative, but others remain mired in the reductive view of politics and power that has plagued feminism for years.
In the face of the uproar with which Pope Francis’s recent message was received, I’d like to offer a brief defense of his address and some words of encouragement to my fellow twenty-somethings who are discerning marriage and parenthood, unpopular though they may be. We are all called to fatherhood or motherhood (adoptive, biological, or spiritual), and suppressing that call diminishes what it means to be fully human.

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