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WHEREIN NATURE IS OPPOSED





CERTAIN excesses, such as we have already alluded to, however base and
abominable in themselves and their effects, have nevertheless this to
their credit that, while violating the positive law of God, they
respect at least the fundamental laws of nature, according to which the
universe is constructed and ordered. To satisfy one's depraved
appetites along forbidden but natural lines, is certainly criminal; but
an unnatural and beastly instinct is sometimes not-satisfied with such
abuse and excess; the passion becomes so blinded as to ignore the
difference of sex, runs even lower, to the inferior order of brutes.
This is the very acme of ungodliness.

There are laws on the statute books against abominations of this sort;
and be it said to the shame of a Christian community, said laws find an
only too frequent application. Severe as are the penalties, they are
less an adequate punishment than a public expression of the common
horror inspired by the very mention of crimes they are destined to
chastise. To attain this depth of infamy is at one and the same time to
sin and to receive the penalty of sin. Here culminates repeated
violence to the moral law. When one is sated with ordinary lusts and is
bent on sweeping the whole gamut of mundane experiences and
excitations, that one invariably descends to the unnatural and
extraordinary, and lives a life of protest against nature.

St. Paul confirms this. According to him, God, in punishment for sin
delivers over people to shameful affections, to a reprobate sense; he
suffers them to be a hell unto themselves. And nature seldom fails to
avenge herself for the outrages suffered. She uses the flail of disease
and remorse, of misery and disgust, and she scourges the culprit to the
verge of the grave, often to the yawning pit of hell.

People shudder at the very thought of such unmentionable things: but
there are circles in society in which such sanctimonious shuddering is
a mighty thin veil of hypocrisy. Infinitely more common, and little, if
any, less unnatural and abominable are the crimes that are killing off
the old stock that once possessed the land and making the country
dependent for increase of population on the floods of immigration. The
old Puritan families are almost extinct; Boston is more Irish than
Dublin. The phenomenon is so striking here that it is called New
Englandism. Why are there so few large families outside the Irish and
Canadian elements? Why are there seen so few children in the
fashionable districts of our large cities? Why this blast of sterility
with which the land is cursed? Look behind the phenomenon, and you will
find the cause; and the finding will make you shudder. And if only
those shudder who are free from stain, the shuddering will be scarcely
audible. Onan and Malthus as household gods are worse than the gods of
Rome.

Meanwhile, the unit deteriorates alongside the family, being given over
to a reprobate sense that is centered in self, that furnishes, against
all law, its own satisfactions, and reaps, in all justice, its
inevitable harvest of woe. To what extent this vice is common it would
serve no purpose to examine; students of criminology have more than
once made known their views on the matter. The character of its malice,
both moral and physical, needs no comment; nature is outraged. But it
has this among its several features; the thralldom to which it subjects
its victim has nothing outside itself to which it may be compared.
Man's self is his own greatest tyrant; there are no tortures so
exquisite as those we provide for ourselves. While therefore we reprove
the culprit, we commiserate with the unfortunate victim, and esteem
that there is none more worthy of sympathy, conditioned, of course, on
a state of mind and soul on his part that seeks relief and freedom;
otherwise, it were pity wasted.

We have done with this infernal category of sin and filth. Yet we would
remark right here that for the most part, as far as they are general
and common, these excesses are the result of one cause; and that cause
is everyday systematic Godlessness such as our public schools are
largely responsible for. This system is responsible for a want of vital
Christianity, of a lack of faith and religion that penetrates the human
fibre and makes God and morality a factor in every deed. Deprived of
this, youth has nothing to fall back on when the hour of temptation
comes; and when he falls, nothing to keep him from the bottom of the
pit.

It is impossible to put this argument in detail before the Christian
and Catholic parent. If the parent docs not see it, it is because that
parent is deficient in the most essential quality of a parent. Nothing
but the atmosphere of a religious school can save our youth from being
victims of that maelstrom of impurity that sweeps the land. And that
alone, with the rigid principles of morality there inculcated, can save
the parents of to-morrow from the blight and curse of New Englandism.





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Previous: THE SINK OF INIQUITY



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