Category Archives: Religious morality

Male Sexuality and the Problem of Evil

In my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism, it is necessary to recognize the enormous amount of evil connected with sexuality; especially male sexuality. I do not use religious beliefs to support my arguments for the fundamental moral principle restricting male sexuality. However, I want my stance on sexual morality to be able to be enhanced by a Catholic Christian outlook. Hence, I would face the question of how there could be evil in the creation of an all-good, all-powerful and all-knowing God. I do not stop to consider the problem in the book because it would be a distraction from my secular argument and of most importance people who want to maintain a religious outlook should not try to solve the problem of evil.

Consider my argument for the above thesis

1.If you think and feel religiously, then you recognize the enormous evil and disorder in the world, cannot understand why it occurs and feel seriously disturbed by its occurrence.

2. If you develop an adequate theodicy, then you can understand why the enormous evil and disorder occurs.
(Theodicy is a name for a theory on why there is evil in God’s creation.)

So (3) If you solve the problem of evil, then you cease to think and feel religiously.

The mysterious of evil is a necessary condition for religious thinking and feeling. Trying to remove the mysteriousness of evil is try to secularize oneself.

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. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Gradualism of the Law and “Eucharistic ” Water Stops

This post builds on an earlier post Gradualism of the Law and Catholic Practice. In that post I proposed using the sacraments of Reconciliation and The Eucharist to help a married man practicing birth control by coitus interruptus to form an intention to stop the practice. He would receive Absolution and be eligible for reception of The Eucharistic without an intention to stop the practice. Under current practice, Absolution is not given without an intention to stop an immoral practice. From my experience as a marathon runner, I would like to suggest a model for rationalizing giving Absolution to someone who is not yet willing to profess having an intention never againto violate the moral law in question.

Frequently in marathon running after fifteen miles or so, the temptation to drop out of the race is very strong. When this temptation arises one might say to himself, or a companion so tempted, that there should be no thoughts of dropping out or completing the race until the next water stop. (Usually water and energy drink stations are at every two or three miles.) You can always make it to the next water stop. Maybe at the next water stop thoughts about the whole race can be entertained. But for now think only of staying on the course until the next stop. On occasion I have completed marathons by going from “water stop to water stop.” I have never dropped out of a marathon and have completed 175 full marathons. Other people have told me that they completed marathons by following my advice to go from water stop to water stop. Don’t think about the whole course.

Here is how this lesson from marathon running could be applied to getting Absolution and receiving the Eucharist. The confessor would ask the man practicing coitus interruptus to refrain from sexual intercourse with his wife until after receiving the Eucharist. Perhaps this would be on the Sunday immediately following Confession on Saturday. He would have the intention not to commit this sin for this short period of time and would leave undetermined what he would do afterwards. Maybe after receiving the Eucharist this Sunday, he would have the strength to refrain another week or day if he were able to attend daily Mass.

This model of having short term intentions to refrain from violating a law with an openness to extending that term after reception of the Eucharist can readily be extended to other cases for gradually practicing Catholic conjugal chastity. But Catholic moral and sacramental theologians would need to investigate the intelligibility and admissibility of such short term and incomplete intentions.

This post augments Chapter VIII on Birth Control in my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism . 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. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Gradualism of the Law and Catholic Practice

This post applies some ideas from an earlier post : Gradualism of the Law in Sexual Morality. Also it assumes some familiarity with Catholic teaching about eligibility to receive the Eucharist and making a good confession.

I write as a Catholic. However, nothing I write has any standing or authority as Catholic teaching. I am speculating about using the Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation to bring penitents gradually to conform to moral laws for correct behavior. The issue confronted is that the priest should not give Absolution if the penitent lacks an intention never again to commit the sins confessed,i.e., a firm purpose of amendment.

Consider a case of a Catholic married man who practices birth control with his wife by withdrawal – coitus interruptus. They think that they have good reason for doing so. They do not intend to stop in the forseeable future. They both know that the Church condemns this practice as gravely wrong. Neither will claim that the Church teaching is incorrect. Nonetheless neither feels that what they are doing is seriously wrong. They doubt that God would condemn them to hell for this practice as they believe He would if they committed adultery without repentance. Still both think and feel that they would be morally and relgiously better off by having unimpeded sexual intercourse and be in conformity with Church teaching. In particular they would like to enjoy receiving absolution in confession and receiving the Eucharistic without doubt that they may be receiving the Eucharist unworthily because either they have not received absolution or not confessed their practice.

Since confession is made individually and obviously the Eucharist is received individually, I will focus on the husband’s problems.

He believes that if he does not confess his practice, the priest’s absolution is ineffective for it does not apply to all his sins. If he confesses doing acts of coitus interruptus but admits that he does not intend to stop the practice, the priest under current rules should refuse absolution. If he lies about his intention to stop, his confession is sacriligious and he has compounded his moral and religious guilt. He finds no way to improve his religious and moral life through the Catholic sacraments of Confession and Communion. The obstacle is his current refusal, or inability, to form honestly an intention to try to conform to the Church’s teaching condemning his method of conception control.

Contrast his plight with a the case of a fifty year old man married to a woman of the same age. He arouses himself with pornography and regularly masturbates. His wife would like more physical contact with him and wonders why he frequently is so indifferent at his relatively young age. He realizes that he is heading towards being a “dirty old man.” He remembers that confession and communion helped him in his struggle for purity when he was a school boy. The sacraments did not totally prevent him from succumbing to temptations. But the sacraments helped him and gave him solace when he failed. Now he would like to shed his sense of decadence by returning to his school boy idealism. He can go to confession tell of his masturbation and porn viewing, genuinely say that he has an intention to stop both. Stopping both has no costs and will bring other benefits. However, both he and the priest realize that he may succumb to temptations despite the good intentions.

The genuine intention needs to involve some plans, explicit or implicit, for avoiding andovercoming temptations. A significant part of these plans might very well be frequent reception of the sacraments of confession and communion.

Here is the main theme of this Blog Post. The sacraments can and ought to be used to help a person gradually live completely in conformity with a law with which he intends to conform. Could the sacraments of confession and reception of the Eucharist be used over a period of time to help a person form an intention to conform to a law? This would be gradulism of the law. In particular, could the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist be used to help this husband practicing conception control by coitus interruptus gradually to form an intention to stop this practice in violation of Catholic teaching? Could current teaching about use of the sacraments allow this use of the sacraments? Could current teachings be slightly altered to accommodate this use of the sacraments to gradually bring people to commit themselves to obedience to the law.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism raises similar considerations in Chapter VIII on Birth Control.

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. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Reception of the Eucharist by Catholics in an invalid Church marriage

On Oct. 5, 2014, the Catholic church began a special synod on Marriage and the Family. At the beginning of the synod we can not be certain what instructions the synod may give for the improvement of marriage and family life. However, much of the disccusion before the beginning of the synod has focus on the question of whether or not Catholics who meet the following conditions may receive the Eucharist.
The conditions are
1. The couple is married in a valid civil ceremony
2. At least one of the spouses has had a Catholic Church marriage broken by civil divorce but there has been no Church annulment of the validity of that broken marriage
3. They have no intention to discontinue having marital relations.

What do we want to know when we ask whether or not they may receive the Eucharist? If we are asking whether or not they may receive the Eucharist in accordance with Church teaching, the answer is clearly NO. See article 1650 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). I propose interpreting what is being asked as the following complex question. Are there some Catholics in these conditions who receive the Eucharist despite the current teaching of the Church, commit no sacrilege by doing so but rather receive spiritual graces with their reception? If so, should the Church change her teachings to recognize the validity of these people’s reception of the Eucharist?

I hope that the bishops, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, provide an answer to the first question. My current answer to the first question is that it is possible by God’s grace that someone receiving the Eucharist under these conditions commits no sacrilege but receives graces of the sacrament, amongst which might be the strength to carry out a resolve to refrain from marital relations. However, the Eucharist is also communion which unites us closely with God and others receiving the Eucharist. A person receiving the Eucharist under these conditions has a diminished communion with those receiving the Eucharist fully in compliance with the Church’s rules.

I could try to list several conditions under which I am confident such people would be committing a sacrilege by reception of the Eucharist. For instance, if a man had only three years ago divorced his wife to marry a younger more attractive woman he almost certainly would be committing a sacrilege by receiving the Eucharist. A list of all such necessary conditions for this possibility would be an indefinite list formed by considering indefinitely many particular cases. An indefinite list is no list at all. I could not give a sufficient condition for this possibility unless the bishops change the teaching of CCC 1650. I can offer no sufficient condition for the validity of a sense of a personal revelation from God.

I think that the bishops should recognize the possiblity to which I alluded. After all, with God all things are possible. However, the bishops should not change the teaching of CCC 1650. A change would do nothing to strengthen Catholic marriage and respect for the Eucharist. I suggest, though, that they publish a warning to those in these specified conditions who judge that they may receive the Eucharist without sacrilege. The warning would be along the following lines.

Objectively you are not eligible to receive the Eucharist. Because the sacramental marriage is still valid, in the sacramental order you are living in adultery. However, if after careful thought, prayer and consultation with a Catholic spiritual advisor you decide that you may still receive the Eucharist without sacrilege, do so with the realization that you might be committing a sacrilege. Be especially careful that your reception of the Eucharist does not lead others to lose some respect for Catholic marriage or the Eucharist.

I have had personal experience with this topic of reception of the Eucharist under the above conditions. I discuss my case in a subsequent post. I bring out personal details to show that I have some standing for addressing this issue. I have “paid my dues.” Some of the ideas of this post were brought out in the chapter on birth control in my book on sexual morality

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. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Include your shipping address.

Religious motivation behind gay marriage movement

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Frequently, opponents of gay marriage are accused of trying to impose their religious outlook on society at large. Fundamentally, the dispute over acceptance of gay marriage is a religious dispute. But the religious stances fundamental in the dispute are not the Judaic, Christian and Islamic religions vs. secularism. The religious dispute is between different visions of the civic religions for Western societies.

In my judgment coming out to endorse “gay marriage” is something like being
converted to a religious doctrine and practicing a ritual to declare the belief. Declaration
of acceptance is like an offering of incense to a god of the Durkheimian religion of
Western societies. (See Mary Douglas’ Purity and Danger (1) for an account of how a
society’s civil religion makes sacred the basic structure of the society.) Anecdotal
evidence indicates that switching to support of gay marriage is similar to having a
conversion experience. My interpretation is that heterosexuals who come out for gay
marriage are switching to a progressive stance on sexuality. A progressive stance
changes significant boundaries between males and females. Endorsing gay marriage
sacralizes this new social structure.

In the Durkheimian sense of religion, a new religious outlook is emerging. This
new religious outlook does not fit well with religions of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
We can be told that nothing much will change if there are same sex marriages. So, why
not accept them? Indeed, offering incense to the emperor did little or nothing except
corrupt early Christians who succumbed to threats. Fidelity and honesty requires holders
of traditional sexual morality to speak against and to vote against same sex marriage if they
have an opportunity to do so.

If same sex marriage is not made a public issue, it is best to
keep silence and hope the silliness passes away. I suggest regarding gay weddings as
outrageous “camp.” The seriousness with which some heterosexuals discuss homosexual
marriage is comic. They include the president of the United States whom I otherwise
take seriously. Why classify gay-weddings as comic or “gay theater?”

To gain some understanding of camp in the gay life style, see David Hailperin’s
How To Be Gay.(2) Participating in camp is a way of compensating for a homosexual’s
sense of being marginalized. Dramatic mockery of structures, practices and institutions
taken seriously in the larger society helps in some way to expose the boundaries of
structures marginalizing homosexuals as ultimately not serious. Basically it is all role-playing
in a tragic comedy.

1. Routledge and Kegan Paul London, 1966
2. Belknap/Harvard U. Press, Cambridge MA, 2012. Reviewed by Edmund White, New
York Review of Books , Oct. 25, 2012