Originally Posted by Nom the Wise
Absolutely. I was lazy yesterday by just reposting your and DarrenOglesby's posts. I don't think I was calling you out on anything. I was a seminarian years ago (didn't get ordained) and I'm keenly aware of the piety that is gripping vacation92. Going into the seminary you expect everyone to be a little bit "holier than thou." You actually have the expectation and it's not always met. I won't go into scandalous details or anything, but of course priests are human.
One of my classmates had an absolute attachment to stuffed animals and Star Trek (he had models of the Enterprise and I think at least one klingon ship hanging from his ceiling). He went on to be ordained. Another classmate was offered pot the day after we had all unpacked, and that guy (the pot smoker) went on to be ordained, but I have it on good authority that he doesn't smoke pot anymore. And the priests at our seminary always lamented that the #1 thing they heard in confession was about masturbation. I don't say they lamented it in terms of not taking it seriously, but it is a very common sin and the easy accessability to porn on-line doesn't help at all. Here in CAF there is always an active thread about masturbation, usually more than one running at a time.
I think what needs to be said is that sex was recently (within the last 10 years at least) elevated on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is a very human thing to do. The focus of seminary formations is to teach men how to achieve personal
intimacy in healthy relationships especially for those discerning a celibate vocation. I'm married now, but sexual expression in marriage is never quite as...consistent as one would hope
so even in marriage, managing one's appetites is still on the itinerary as it were.
I wish that CAF would post something like what I'm saying as a "sticky thread" on Moral Theology. A kind of official acknowledgement that masturbation is so common of a struggle for many and a disciplined prayer life is truly the only defense against it, coupled with healthy friendships with plenty of platonic hugs.
I completely agree. I have recently been speaking with a friend, who was once a seminarian, and we discussed chastity and self-mastery in depth.
In a world with lust all around us and sexual desires every corner you turn the only way to truly combat it is to master one's self through prayer. Chastity is more than just not looking at women and denying yourself the ability to appreciate beauty- that is not freedom from sin, it is running from it. Through prayer and self-discipline you can teach yourself how to truly be open to the appreciation of beauty and the opposite sex while still being chaste. I say, tell women they are beautiful and acknowledge that you are attracted to women. BUT, realize that there is an order in living a holy life and they are a child of God and not just an object of lust. Chastity is acknowledging the beauty that surrounds us while still keeping in mind that beauty is a gift given from God, and he wants us to respect that gift in a holy way.