Political Correctness Undercuts Apologies for Clerical Sexual Abuse

I am writing this post, shortly after the Vatican conference of bishops on sexual abuse. There, and elsewhere, lay Catholics as well as clergy are asked to learn to appreciate the deep suffering of and immense damage to all the boys and young men with whom priests performed homosexual acts.* Kathleen Beckman in her book Praying for Priests expressed well this call for sympathy and condemnation by writing “The weight of sorrow for the abuse victims is unspeakable, as is the pain of betrayal by clergy.” Leading clerics, including the Pope, offer public apologies with such words.

I am not responding well to the call for universal sympathy with the victims and righteous anger towards the perpetrators. I cannot sincerely endorse the apologies. The apologies sound like official vague pronouncements to make the officials look good and appease the public. But they do not make the officials look good. Nor do they appease the public. The condemnations and expressions of sympathy are overstated for the intended audience which, nonetheless demands overstatement which it will not accept as sincere.

In this post I attempt to diagnose why the official language seems so empty. The gist of my diagnosis is that the apologists are speaking primarily to an audience who believe that sexual activity is morally neutral but they use language which is appropriate only if they believe that there are special moral rules for sexual activity. Or put it this way. The audience wants the apologists to use the language appropriate to condemning the acts as intrinsically immoral and express regret that the boys on whom the acts were performed suffered moral corruption. But the audience does not believe that any sexual acts are intrinsically immoral but do believe that any harm done to the boys was psychological.

Let’s review the distinction between moral outlooks which hold that there are sex specific rules and those which hold that sexual activity is morally neutral by considering fellatio. Catholics should accept that there is a sex specific moral rule against fellatio. By this rule fellatio is intrinsically immoral. Under no circumstances, regardless of the mental states of the actors or consequences of the acting, it is immoral. Those who hold that sexual activity is morally neutral, hold that the morality of an act of fellatio depends upon the circumstance, mental states of the actors and the consequences of the action.

Now, only if you hold that fellatio is intrinsically immoral can you render unqualified moral condemnation on the seducer and hold without qualification that the seduced suffered the moral harm of moral corruption by being led into participation in an immoral act.

If I hold that the morality of fellatio of one male upon another is morally neutral, then the morality of the act depends upon the circumstances, the intentions of the participants and the consequences of the activity. Under the assumption of the moral neutrality of sexual activity, that these cases of homosexual acts between priests and boys need to be investigated more closely on what moral judgments to make and how to allot our sympathy.

I think the failure of the apologies and expressions of sympathy fail because of so-called “political correctness.” Politically correct language is language the public demands but which they will believe is insincere.

*I discuss homosexual acts because I am a male. Homosexual acts are the only kind I can imagine for these cases. I have never experienced any attempt of a priest or religious professional to seduce me.
*My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. In my book, I argue that the assumption of the moral neutrality of sexual activity ultimately undercuts all objective morality. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Professor Alan Goodman on Moral Neutrality of Sexuality

In a February 12, 2019 article in the on-line magazine iai (Institue of Art and Ideas) a distinguished philosopher,Alan H. Goldman | Kenan Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at College of William and Mary, presented the stance toward sexual morality which I labeled “sexual nihilism” in my book*. Professor Goldman’s stance on sexual morality is dominant amongst philosophers in secular universities of the United States and Western Europe. They have helped to make it almost common sense amongst the millions, if not billions, participating in the sexual revolution. As I noted in a previous post this stance on sexual morality is corrupting Catholic moral theology.

Professor Goldman presents an overview of his stance in his beginning sentences.

“There is no such thing as sexual morality per se. Put less dramatically, there is no morality special to sex: no act is wrong simply because of its sexual nature. Sexual morality consists in moral considerations that are relevant elsewhere as well being applied to sexual activity or relations. This is because the proper concept of sexual activity is morally neutral. Sexual activity is that which fulfills sexual desire. Sexual desire in its primary sense can be defined as desire for physical contact with another person’s body and for the pleasure that such contact brings.” . . . “Sex itself is not a moral category, although it places us in relations in which moral considerations apply. It gives us opportunity to do what is otherwise regarded as wrong: to harm, deceive, or manipulate others against their will. ”
. . . “Sexual desire aims directly at the pleasure derived from physical contact.”. . .”It is not a desire to reproduce or to express love or other emotions,”. . . “Overly restrictive sexual ethics derive from definitions that wrongly build these extraneous motives into the concept of proper sex.”

Note that Professor Goldman is presenting a moral claim. He is summarizing how we morally ought to make moral judgments about sexuality. Of course, I have no objections to making moral judgments about how we ought to think about sexual morality. The point of the reminder is that Professor Goldman’s stance expresses a moral judgment which needs to be defended against reasonable challenges. Despite its widespread acceptance, it is not a settled issue.

His definition of “sexual activity” does not effectively separate sexual activity from reproductive activity. His definition becomes “Sexual activity is that which fulfills desire for. . . physical contact with another person’s body and for the pleasure that such contact brings.” The definition is obviously too broad. There is a need to specify the kinds of bodily contact and special pleasure of those kinds of bodily contact. Such specification will require mention of reproductive organs.

In any event, an open challenge to this now standard stance on sexual morality requires making a case that sexual morality is not and ought not be a collection of moral rules specifically for moral control of human reproductive activity. Use of reproductive organs is central in human sexual activity. If there is such a collection, some of the rules would specify morally appropriate use of our reproductive organs; more likely morally inappropriate use. Traditional sexual morality is such a collection.

At this time, there is a need to re-open consideration of whether or not human reproductive behavior ought to have specific moral rules.

Here I want to propose two factual reasons for re-opening the question. I am not suggesting that facts show what ought to be. Certainly, I am not suggesting that traditional sexual morality -what ought to be sexually- can be established by what is the case. I am simply sketching out some facts to motivate re-considering whether it is reasonable to think that there are sex specific moral rules.

The first factual consideration is the special ,if not unique sense of harm, that people frequently allege when they allege that they were sexually wronged. This is exhibited in the #MeToo movement and by some young men when they had sexual relations with a priest when they were in their early teens. It seems that they are complaining of having suffered a sexual wrong.

The second factual consideration is that if moral inhibitions evolved to help humans reproduce themselves, it would not be surprising that moral inhibitions for certain uses of reproductive organs would have evolved. It would not have hurt the growth of homo sapiens to have principles inhibiting masturbation and homosexual activity.

I grant that the fact that a moral principle comes from nature does not show that it is a correct moral principle. However, if it comes from nature the principle is in our culture as a moral principle. To set it aside as erroneous requires moral arguments. It is on the table to be discussed.

*My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. In my book I explain how traditional sexual morality comes from nature and develop a case that this natural morality is the correct morality. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Synopsis of Subverting Catholic Sexual Morality

As a member of the Columbus Ohio Downtown Serra Club, one of my assignments as secretary is to write reports of luncheon talks for our newsletter. What follows is a report, using third person, on my own talk I wrote for our newsletter. The text of the full talk is in my previous blog post

A member of our club gave the talk at our first 2019 St. Charles luncheon meeting on January 11. Program chair Dan Tarpy introduced Charles F. Kielkopf with the following remarks relevant to the topic of his talk: “An Assumption in Moral Philosophy which is Subverting Catholic Sexual Morality.”

He was educated in St. Paul, Minnesota by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Corondelet and the Christian Brothers. After military service in the 11th Airborne, he returned to St. Paul and earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. From 1963 to 2000 he served in the Philosophy department of The Ohio State University. Professor Kielkopf’ s most recent books are: A Declaration of Dependence: A Kantian Condemnation of Atheistic Despair, 1997 and Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism. 2014*.

The assumption subverting Catholic sexual morality is that no sexual act by itself is morally forbidden. Whether or not a sexual activity is morally permissible depends on factors apart from what is done such as the circumstances in which it is done, the intentions of the actors and the consequences of the act. In short, the assumption holds that sexual acts are morally neutral. This assumption contradicts traditional Catholic sexual morality. Catholic sexual morality condemns homosexual acts and masturbation as intrinsically disordered. To say that homosexual acts and masturbation are intrinsically disordered is to say that there are no circumstances regardless of the intentions of the actors and consequences of the act in which homosexual acts and masturbation are morally permissible.

Professor Kielkopf pointed out that the assumption of the moral neutrality of sexual acts has had almost axiomatic status for the past fifty years in the moral theories taught in the major secular universities and some Catholic universities. Such moral theories rationalize the so-called sexual revolution beginning in the sixties. As a result, the moral neutrality of sexual acts is part of the conceptual framework of our culture. If it were not for the moral laws of nature written in the human heart referred to by St. Paul in Rom: 2:15, the assumption would be part of common sense.

The assumption subverts Catholic sexual morality because Catholics are participants in contemporary culture. It takes effort to hold to unfashionable stances and avoid being totally shaped by our surrounding culture.

Professor Kielkopf gave evidence that the language of some high clergy indicate that they may make the assumption.

Kielkopf cited use of “clericalism.” “Clericalism” is used to designate use of clerical status to coerce consent. So, instead of condemning McCarrick’s homosexual acts, he is accused of a misuse of power. Misuse of power is only a circumstance in which his homosexual acts were committed.

At the beginning of 2019 Catholics are rightly anxious about the prospect that moral thought assuming the moral neutrality of sexual acts will become dominant in our Church. If so, our Church will become only a frill in our culture which might occasionally be called upon to support some welfare policy. Our Church will have no basis to demand the dominant culture to pay attention to the meaning of life for individuals.

Secular moral philosophy’s assumption of the moral neutrality of sexual acts is really just part of an assumption of the moral neutrality of every act. Under this broader assumption, the role of moral thinking is to decide how to get the fairest division of pains and pleasures from acts. So, in principle, any kind of act may turn out to be right. If pains significantly outweigh pleasures a life is not worth living. It is right to terminate such lives.

Traditional Catholic sexual morality is part of a larger moral vision which holds that human beings have natural capacities such as sexuality, concern for beauty, concern for community, concern for truth and life itself. There is a good to be realized by each of these capacities. Morally right acts promote these goods. Acts which directly frustrate attainment of these goods are intrinsically wrong. The moral meaning of life for individuals is to form themselves to be the kind of people who promote these goods and avoid the intrinsically wrong acts. The full meaning of life for individuals is to live a morally meaningful life because that is what God created us for.

Professor Kielkopf noted that there is hope for Catholic friendly moral philosophies which can compete with the dominant Catholic unfriendly secular moral philosophies. An example he cited was the new natural law theory started by Germain Grisez.

As a final suggestion, Professor Kielkopf suggested that Serrans think about developing ways to find out the type of moral philosophy taught to seminarians and then try to ensure that they are taught moral philosophy which supports the Catholic vision.

An Assumption in Moral Philosophy which is Subverting Catholic Sexual Morality

A luncheon talk delivered to the Downtown Serra Club of Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 11,2019 at St. Charles Preparatory by club member Charles F. Kielkopf, Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus) The Ohio State University

Why have I asked for the opportunity to talk with you about the philosophical foundations of sexual morality? As Serrans we are concerned with the formation of those in ordained ministries. We pray that they “may be found worthy of the ministry they have received.” Unfortunately, there are indications that ordained ministers, the seminarians they form and the laity to whom they minister have and use a moral theory containing as assumption about sexual morality subverting Catholic sexual morality. As a result, they are not faithful to the ministries they have received.

I have a negative and a positive goal for this short presentation. The negative goal is to specify this subversive assumption, note how it subverts traditional sexual morality, consider how it damages society and offer evidence that it is made by a significant plurality, if not a majority, of Catholics including influential priests and bishops. The positive goal is to remind ourselves that we have the resources to combat this destructive influence on Church teaching and practice. I will highlight the roles of moral philosophy amongst these resources.

What is this subversive assumption? The subversive assumption is that no sexual act by itself is morally forbidden. However, sexual acts can be morally forbidden when non-sexual factors are considered. Whether or not a sexual activity is morally permissible depends on factors apart from what is done such as the circumstances in which it is done, the intentions of the actors and the consequences of the act.

For instance, the moral permissibility of sexual intercourse between two OSU students who have just met at a party depends on factors such as whether they are tolerably sober enough to consent, have harmless intentions such as “just to have fun” and are well protected against the undesirable consequence of pregnancy in this circumstance of being unmarried. Given the subversive assumption this hookup is morally permissible. However, change the circumstances to her being too drunk to consent, it would be morally wrong. Note, though, that the activity is not condemned for any misuse of sexuality. The wrong is using an asset of the girl without her consent.

In my book,* I call this subversive assumption “moral nihilism.” There is nothing in our sexuality which shows us how to use it.

In moral theory, the assumption operates by placing only indirect or conditional moral restrictions on sexual activity. Theoretically the assumption leads to judgments that a sexual act is permissible if the parties involved are capable of giving consent, are informed about the circumstances and possible consequences, actually give consent and the desirable consequences outweigh the undesirable consequences. In daily practice, the assumption rationalizes a consensual sex act which after a quick and careless consideration seems harmless.

Use of this assumption obviously entails that masturbation is morally permissible as well as homosexual relations between consenting adults. It does not require much more thinking to figure out that moral theories using this assumption justify artificial birth control. These entailments clearly subvert Catholic sexual morality. Such theories are frequently thought of as progressive.

I want to emphasize that people using progressive moral theories sincerely believe that their moral judgments are correct. They frequently render severe moral condemnations of public policy and practice with respect to social justice and environment protection. These theories yield judgments consistent with most of Catholic social teaching. They will condemn some sex acts as abusive such as fellatio of a forty year old man on a twelve year old boy even if both enjoyed great pleasure.

Nonetheless, despite good intentions use of this assumption for progressive sexual morality has some undesirable consequences. It is the assumption justifying the sexual revolution and dissent from humane vitae. Dissent from humane vitae has seriously damaged our Church. The December 2018 issue of the Atlantic had an article noting a surprising undesirable consequence of the sexual revolution. Not only is there a decline in marriages but there is a decline in young people having sexual intercourse. They stay home and masturbate fired up by internet porn and play with sex toys. Masturbation is sure and safe sex because there are no worries about getting consent or STDs.

What are some indications that this subversive assumption is operative in the moral thinking of our Church? There has been little attention to sexual morality since dissent from humanae vitae. Presumably, it is not thought that the sexual practice of a large number of Catholics, which match those of the followers of the sexual revolution are not seriously wrong, if wrong at all. I saw a poster of the Ten Commandments outside a PSR classroom. The sixth commandment was written as: Never hurt anyone! St. John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical veritatis splendor was clearly directed against Catholic moral theologians whose underlying moral philosophies make this assumption. The language of high clerics addressing current scandals suggest that they make this assumption. They avoid directly condemning sexual sins as violating sex specific rules or proper use of sexuality. They speak only of general rules of justice as being violated.

Consider the term “clericalism.” “Clericalism” is used to designate use of clerical status to coerce consent. So, instead of condemning McCarrick’s homosexual acts, they accuse him of a misuse of power, Indeed, use of terms such as “abuse” and “cover-up” function to avoid naming and blaming specific sexual act as sexually immoral. If they believed that there were genuine sexual wrongs, preventing cover-ups would be secondary to uncovering the sins covered-up and rooting them out.

As long as this assumption is dominant in our Church we are threatened with corruption. Now for the positive part.

What is a contrary assumption about sexual morality? A contrary assumption is that from contemplation and analysis of the human good to be produced by human sexuality we can uncover what we ought to do to produce that good and of, greatest importance, uncover what we ought not do to frustrate attainment of the good of human sexuality. Articulation of such analyses express the natural law, which St. Paul tells us in Rom. 2, 11-15, is written in everyone’s heart. These articulations are expressed as categorical, unconditional or absolute, prohibitions of certain sexual acts.

For instance, A man must not intentionally seek an orgasm except in sexual intercourse, open to conception, with woman to whom he is committed for life to care for her and any children resulting from their intercourse. (I needed the better part of a book to justify this principle.) All other intentionally sought orgasms are intrinsically wrong. There are no circumstances, regardless of the intentions of the actors or the consequences of doing them which justify them.

Obviously, from this type of moral theory masturbation and homosexuality are intrinsically wrong. I regret to say it: But artificial birth control for a married couple falls on the wrong side of being right.

Why should ordained clergy and influential Catholic laity hold a moral theory which leads to a moral theology supporting traditional Catholic sexual morality? There are two reasons: One theoretical, the other practical. For many judgments, such as condemnation of homosexual acts, we want to hold the strong “You can’t do that because it is wrong.” As opposed to the weak sectarian judgment “You can’t do that because you are a Catholic.” The factual reason is that the Thomistic moral philosophy which supported Catholic moral theology for centuries lost status in the intellectual world. It got too wrapped up in how to make decisions in difficult cases without up-dating the underlying theory. And the theory was poorly defended. It was ridiculed even by many Catholics after humane vitae. Proponents could not quickly answer questions such as: If it is wrong to stop a spermatozoa from reaching an ovum, why isn’t wrong to stop a bead of sweat rolling down your forehead into your eye? After all both are just following nature.

Is there any hope for a moral philosophy which will support traditional Catholic sexual morality? And, of more importance, is there hope for resistance within the Church against the influence of the operative moral philosophy which, if left unchecked, will destroy our Church. The second question comes up because far more than philosophy is needed to defeat the sexual revolution which has snuck into the Church with this subversive assumption.

There is hope for a rigorous moral philosophy which deserves serious consideration in the philosophical world. This is the so-called New Natural Law Theory started by Germain Grisez of Mt. St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. Some proponents are Robert P. George of Princeton and John Finnis of Oxford. It is still not seriously considered in the major secular universities.

Philosophy departments in the major secular universities determine what is to be taken seriously by other secular philosophy departments and Catholic philosophy departments which try to be like them. There is my effort to found a Kantian sexual moral philosophy in line with Catholic thought. I fear that it is a long shot for recognition; let alone acceptance. As a philosophical resource there is St. John Paul II’s theology of the body which can found a sexual moral philosophy with a sensitive analysis of the good of human sexuality

Non-philosophical weapons are available.
1. Millions of Catholics simply will not accept progressive sexual morality. They may not hold any moral philosophy or moral theology but the traditional sexual morality is written in their hearts.
2. The Church has not changed her teachings on sexual morality. And the weight of traditional will most likely prevent any changes.
3. Traditional Catholics have not remained silent when confronted with progressive sexual morality in society and the Church. For instance, we have EWTN, the National Catholic Register, Programs such as TMIY.
4 We have the promise that God will not abandon us. However, we must pray and work not to become in effect abandon by succumbing to a sense of abandonment.

A final suggestion is that perhaps as Serrans we should consider finding a way to exercise concern about the moral philosophy taught in seminaries.

*My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. I have not changing the basic line of argument in my book. But in these blog posts I am developing better ways of expressing my argument by staying with the language of common sense and removing topics and language which could at best be of interest to professional academic philosophers. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

The Fundamental Moral Law of Human Sexuality

This post improves upon the Proof of the Traditional Moral Law for Male Sexuality by basing it on recognizing the basic human good of human sexuality. Thus we get a fundamental law for human sexuality from which we can derive the fundamental moral law for male sexuality.

There is much we desire and enjoy in our sexuality. There is much we dread and suffer from our sexuality. Yet we cannot live without it. We desire the basic fact of our being as good without qualification. To be sure we wish pain and suffering not to be. But this is wishing to be without pain and suffering. So, because sexuality is essential to being human, there is some core of human sexuality which we find to be good without qualification: a basic human good. This core will be some action of human sexuality which ought to promoted and never frustrated.

What is this core act? What is so widely celebrated? What follows the bridal feast? We have a built in modesty which does not dwell on the details of the marriage act. But the marriage act is the core good of human sexuality. What is it?
The marriage act is a sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are committed to provide lifelong mutual support nurture whoever may be conceived by that intercourse.

The moral law of human sexuality says: The marriage act is to be promoted and never frustrated. Parts of this act pulled out of the marriage act and used for some other purpose frustrate the marriage act. Since the crucial part of the male in the marriage act is dispersal of sperm, the dispersal of sperm’s function in the marriage act should never be frustrated. So we can readily derive the fundamental moral principle for male sexuality.

The fundamental moral law for male sexuality tells us that a man should not intentionally seek an orgasm except in sexual intercourse having the possibility of conception with a woman to whom he is committed to care for while providing for any children resulting from that intercourse. Call this the paternal principle. Acts which frustrate this good are sperm dispersal by a male which can never be used for conception. So masturbation, homosexuality and coitus interruptus are morally wrong. In addition to interrupting the good act they turn attention to a lesser good than that which they ought to be promoting.

Women may be aware of distinct female aspects of what is essential in their engagement in the marriage act. So, a fundamental moral principle for women would prohibit frustration of uniquely female sexual features in sexual behavior. As a male I cannot articulate it.

Others may have developed this type of argument better than I. They are proponents of what is called the New Natural Law Theory.
See Patrick Lee, “The Human Body and Sexuality in the Teaching of Pope John Paul II,” in John Paul II’s Contribution to Catholic Bioethics, ed. Christopher Tollefsen (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2005), 107–20; Patrick Lee and Robert P. George, Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

I have not intentionally followed their line of argument. However, I am not interested in being original. I simply want the truth about human sexual morality to be proclaimed. I am sympathetic with the New Natural Law Theory. I would like its proponents to incorporate whatever is useful in my arguments into the New Natural Law Theory.

Proof of the Traditional Moral Law for Male Sexuality

The fundamental moral law for male sexuality tells us that a man should not intentionally seek an orgasm except in sexual intercourse having the possibility of conception with a woman to whom he is committed to care for while providing for any children resulting from that intercourse. Call this the paternal principle.

The focus is on male sexuality. I am most familiar with it because I am a man and male sexuality is the most troublesome in human sexuality.

The paternal principle tells us that masturbation, homosexual relations, uncommitted relations with a woman and, of course, adultery are morally wrong. Men who regularly engage in these immoral sexual acts are with respect to sexuality not the kind of men they ought to be.

Why is this so? The answer is a brief statement that brings out the main points. Much more can always be said. But we need to see the main points before elaboration in a long essay or book.

Consider male sexuality. Its core action is the distribution of sperm. The purpose of sperm dispersal, or orgasm, is procreation of human beings. That’s what we would say about the sexuality of other male animals. We cannot deny that this purpose is a great good for human beings. Hence, the procreative function of male orgasms ought to be promoted and ought not be inhibited.

Yes, this judgment that procreation is a great good is a moral judgment. Making moral judgments is part of common sense and this discussion is at the common sense level.

Besides the great value of sexuality we are well aware that it is troublesome. Anybody can make up a list of the joys and sorrows of human sexuality; especially on the part of males. Evidence of this is that sexuality is restricted by all sorts of customs and rules; amongst which are moral rules. Human sexuality, as we know it, is a morally restricted activity.

Using our capacity to think morally to restrict our sexual behavior may have evolved as one way to control some of the harm of unrestricted sex. Even if the cause of making moral restrictions on sexuality is harm prevention, it does not follow that the reasons in our moral thinking justifying the restrictions is the harm they prevent. As will be shown the reasons are based on promoting the great good of sexuality and restricting that which inhibits this great good.

The question at issue is what are the fundamental moral restrictions. We are not asking whether or not it ought to be morally restricted. Morally unrestricted sexuality would not be human sexuality as we know it. Furthermore, asking whether it ought to be morally restricted already places sexuality under moral considerations. We cannot evade thinking morally about our sexuality. Even those who hold that the only moral restriction on sexual activity is the free consent of those involved are thinking morally about sexuality.

The paternal principle clearly tells us how to promote the great good of human sexuality along with condemning what frustrates that good. It offers men a clear standard for deciding on the morality of their primary sexual action. Think of the chaos of possibilities deviations from it allow.It does not leave room for seeking special circumstance which may permit following sexual inclinations, which are all too frequent, contrary to the good of sexuality. Looking for special circumstances permitting deviations from protection of the good of an activity are rationalizations which undercut the purpose of moral restrictions on the activity. All alternatives to the paternal principle make room for considerations which allow violations of the protection of the good of sexuality. For the paternal principle says exactly what its good is and condemns whatever inhibits it.

So the paternal principle does exactly what is needed for moral restriction on male sexuality. That’s probably why awareness of it is a cultural universal, even if not followed or ignored in many cultures.

I am earnestly seeking readers who will develop this line of thinking about morality and sexuality to extend it to female sexuality along with guidelines on how to apply it to improve the human condition with regard to exercise of sexuality.

The above line of argument was presented in Chapter IV
of my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism , Tulsa 2014.

See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. I have not changing the basic line of argument in my book. But in these blog posts I am developing better ways of expressing my argument by staying with the language of common sense and removing topics and language which could at best be of interest to professional academic philosophers. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

The Intercourse Theory of Conception

Don’t these people know about the intercourse theory of conception? That’s what I cynically ask myself when I read novels in which the author sends his characters merrily off, for all sorts of reasons, to start baby-making.

That sexual intercourse between a man and woman is the cause of conception is one of our best established theories. Coupled with awareness of this theory comes those positive and negative thoughts and feelings about sexuality. We realize its importance for human survival, pleasures and love. Yet we dread its disruptive power.

The intercourse theory of conception, and accompanying thoughts and feelings are common sense. Suddenly, it struck me that the way to make my defense of traditional sexual morality clearer is to stay with common sense. I am not saying that acceptance of traditional sexual morality is part of common sense. However, the beliefs and concepts used in a strong case for traditional sexual morality are expressible in the every day language with which we talk about sex. The argument does not need some special philosophical vocabulary and system. The ideas we use to talk about relationships, to give advice, to teach children about sex, to gossip, etc., are sufficient to follow, accept or reject the argument. The importance of emphasizing that the argument goes on at the common sense level is that it has to be given serious attention. It cannot be ignored as coming from some special religion or philosophy. It is not necessary to develop a special philosophical vocabulary and then show that use of this conceptual scheme is the correct way to represent reality as it is.

In my book, I tended to develop too much special vocabulary and explicitly draw upon the philosopher Kant. I am not changing the basic themes of the book. But I am setting aside ways of speaking, issues and scholarship which would be of interest to academic philosophers, reference to other philosophers and intriguing philosophical puzzles. I will write for the intelligent lay person using terms of everyday life. Of course, this does not eliminate the critical thinking need for making distinctions and defining how some crucial terms will be used in discussion. But critical thinking is common sense.

There are other common sense concepts whose use we need not justify. The language of morality: right, wrong, good, evil etc. does not need defense. We do not need to show that we have a right to talk about right and wrong. We do make the distinction between the results of natural processes we can alter and the results of natural processes, such as the getting of agreements by promises, which it is wrong to frustrate by lying. We do not need to justify using the notions of good character, a way a person ought to be, and a meaning for life. If we try to show that we are entitle to talk at the common sense level, we start an endless regress of justifying our ways of thinking. This undercuts giving an effective argument.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. I have not changing the basic line of argument in my book. But in these blog posts I am developing better ways of expressing my argument by staying with the language of common sense and removing topics and language which could at best be of interest to professional academic philosophers. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Trump: His Sexual Nihilism

By accepting the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as the price of doing business with Saudi Arabia, our president, Donald Trump, proclaimed to the entire world that he is a nihilist. Nothing matters, everything is permitted, as along as it serves his interest and he has the power to do it. On this Thanksgiving Day, 2018, let us thank God that the entire world does not yet despise us as a nihilist nation.

How can we protect ourselves from degenerating into nihilists? There is a bulwark against nihilism in the struggle to build the character and follow the rules of traditional sexual morality.

Donald Trump is a notorious sexual nihilist. In principle, every thing sexual is permissible. He sets aside any moral constraints on satisfying his sexual inclinations . Legal need for consent is not a great obstacle for him. His power and wealth allows him to “coerce” consent.

I wrote Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism , Tulsa, 2014 See Confronting Sexual Nihilism. In the book I make three main points. 1.Struggling to live in accordance with traditional sexual morality gives us a purpose in life.
2.Following the commonly held moral theory that anything sexual is morally permissible if there is consent, soon leads to full-fledged nihilism that in principle everything
is permissible.
3. A strong case, using only claims and concepts available to all contemporary rational people, that it is reasonable to struggle to build the character to follow the rules of traditional sexual morality.

I need help in making this case. Please feel free to use and develop any ideas from my book or these blog posts

These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Masturbation & Sexual Nihilism

“Sexual nihilism” is a philosophic term labeling a theory that sexuality has no deep significance. For ordinary conversation the term describes a grim human condition. In the November 14, 2018 New York Times op-ed section Ross Douthat writes of empty lives reflexing empty sexual morality. See: The Huxley Trap: How technology and masturbation tamed the sexual revolution.

Sexual nihilists teach that sexuality itself sets no moral limits on how we seek sexual satisfaction. For sexual nihilists the only restriction on attaining sexual satisfaction is that no one is forced to participate. If there is consent anything goes! Masturbation could easily be a preferred sexual practice. There is no problem of getting consent. Lack of imagination might reduce the satisfactions available. In these times, technology fills this lack with internet pornography.

The so-called sexual revolution of the sixties was the teaching of sexual nihilism by culture forming elites and popular acceptance of the teaching. Douthat reminds us that conservatives predicted widespread sexual licentiousness. There has been some of that. But there is nothing like the wild on-going orgies that worried some conservatives. The reality is duller and more depressing. Ross Douthat reports on studies showing many – under forties- are not dating let alone marrying and having children. Without being gay, they associate mostly with members of their own sex. Their sexual inclinations are exacerbated by pornography and satisfied by masturbation.

In passing, remember that pornography loses its erotic power as users become familiar with it. There is a temptation to seek out sexual images with ever more power to excite. This leads to downloading child-porn and sadistic porn with terrible legal consequences. So, the flight from seeking consenting partners is not safe from disastrous social consequences.

However, the disastrous consequences with respect to the significance of one’s life – a sense of life having a purpose – are even worse. Call these existential consequences. By nature homo sapiens, the human animal has thoughts about right, wrong, good, evil, life having a point or purpose. It is not just theory that says we have the purpose of having children. We feel that command of nature. That’s why I linked to Douthat’s column. A good writer makes us aware of the bleakness of a way of life in which sexuality is morally and existentially pointless. We cannot make sense of our lives if we trivialize our constant sexual inclinations as having no significance other than opportunities for brief episodes of intense pleasure.

Reflect on how dreadful our sexuality seems when we look at it as a means simply for trivial pleasures. We set our sexuality apart from ourselves. It is too trivial to have any important goal keeping us alive. We need to eat. We do not need sexual climaxes. Still we cannot ignore it. It constantly makes demands on us. It is almost like a “demon” driving us to seek trivial satisfactions which are not lasting satisfactions.

In my book, I call this grim condition “sexual alienation.” On one hand, sexuality is too trivial to be an important feature of who we are. On the other hand, sexuality is an external force driving us to act in ways which have bad consequences unless we exercise constant vigilance.

My book on sexual morality cites the existential need for setting aside sexual alienation as the solution for the selection problem. The selection problem was justifying a moral claim that the natural functions of sexuality are not to be intentionally inhibited when, in general, there are no moral restrictions on inhibiting the natural functions of natural processes.

Consider a bit more evidence that upholders of traditional sexual morality were not over emphasizing the crucial moral and existential place of sex. The #metoo movement is in part a rebellion against the insinuation that sexuality, and thereby women, is mostly insignificant fun. Recall also the harrowing recurrent recollections of people who were inflicted with “sexual play” by adults .

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Values Are As Fundamental As Facts

Our goal is to show that basic moral rules of traditional sexual morality are correct rules because they adequately express the structure of nature or reality. There is a widespread assumption, some times called scientism, that nature apart from human thinking and feeling consists only of facts and scientific laws of nature Scientism is an assumption that moral laws and values cannot adequately express the structure of nature.

A question of these blog posts is whether or not moral laws, especially the laws of traditional sexual morality, adequately express the structure of nature. So it is a fallacy of begging-the-question to assume scientism.

There is no reason to assume scientism. Factual thinking and moral thinking are equally fundamental in that part of nature where there is obviously thinking. That part of nature is human thinking. Without special effort to control how we think, our thinking is a complex mixture of thinking what is, what is not along with what ought to be and what ought not to be. Thinking about what is can be called descriptive thinking while thinking about what ought to be is normative thinking. There is no escape from this mixture of descriptive and normative thinking.. If we raise the question of whether or not we ought to control our thinking to get the facts before making any judgments about what ought or ought not be done, we have obviously already thought about what ought or ought not be done.

So, if thinking represents reality or nature, nature contains both what is the case and what ought to be the case. If we use seeing as a model for getting the facts and hearing as a model for responding to the normativity in nature, both looking and listening are crucial for thinking correctly about nature.

This line of thought takes the approach of so-called modern philosophy initiated by Descartes, (1596-1650). This modern approach of philosophy specifies that we start philosophizing by paying attention to our thinking. Of course, assuming that we start critical thinking about reality by paying attention to our thinking about reality is not to assume that reality is nothing but thinking. In a thought there can be that which makes it be something real apart from thinking.

The modern approach leaves room for a skeptical doubt that there is nothing but thinking. In all our philosophical thinking we are thinking about thinking. We do not directly encounter the being which makes our thoughts a reality we encounter. So, it is not logically inconsistent to suggest that our thoughts are not real. But is it not clear that when we encounter thinking we are encounter something real – something which has being? So, we can set aside the suggestion that there is no being except thinking.

I will avoid discussing these fundamental issues about reality in subsequent blog posts. But it must be admitted that my arguments for laws of traditional sexual morality, presuppose that there is a reality which our descriptive and normative thinking can accurately represent.

My book on sexual morality makes this assumption of realism. My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.