It’s been a very busy summer, hasn’t it? Newspapers reported that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity was once again verified by another utterly incomprehensible intergalactic test or other. I think everyone would agree that the very definition of insanity would be for a scientist to respond to this news by saying, “Well that does it. I’m not going to listen to Einstein anymore.”
Yet that is exactly how people are acting. But not about Einstein. I’m talking about the Catholic Church. You see, the Church had one of its own theories put to the test, and those results also came back this summer. And like Einstein, the Church passed with flying colors. But with this, huge difference. Unlike Einstein, the Church never gets any credit. People continue to behave as if the Church knows nothing about sex and human nature. But the priest scandal proves that it does.
St. Peter tells us to “abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against the soul” (1 Pt. 2:11). But will anybody listen? No. Somehow, too many inside and outside the Church think that cocaine-fueled orgies are a good way to form young men and priests. But the apostles knew better.
In the Epistle to Galatians, St. Paul teaches that asceticism is an essential dimension of the spiritual life, and thus also essential to the cultivation of the spiritual qualities of the human soul. In almost clinical fashion, St. Paul enumerates these spiritual qualities, or “fruits,” as the apostle calls them. One of these is self-control, which means that Paul is telling us that we need to practice self-denial to control our desires and passions.
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