In Catholic teaching, and in reality, chastity is God’s plan. Also in reality, it is not as universally “catching on” among Catholic youth as we wish. Warnings, scoldings, and even excellent religious education are not correcting the problem. I make no references to the types of people who post on these forums or any of their family members but frankly I see a huge problem with chastity among Catholic youth, and although I don’t know exact numbers, the problem is big enough to make one wonder just what positive effect – if any – we as parents and teachers of these children are having.
The other day I was sure that I posted to the Bill Joel thread, but since I have an unreliable connection in my motel room, I didn’t get a chance to see follow-ups until I went to the public library and could not find my post. Either it never got posted in the first place, or it was deleted. If it was deleted, I suppose I wasn’t surprised because I allowed myself to speak as if I was still a sexually active youth, away at college and out of reach of mommy and daddy, and it probably was offensive and/or scary to some. That, however, is the reality young women faced 25 years ago, and I believe there is precious little difference now. I was not a bully or controlling; I was always very polite to women, which was actually one of my best weapons at impressing them. I was just as stupid as they were, but I knew how to get what I wanted without even really trying, and Catholic beliefs and even supposedly firm convictions did not save them from sin. These are not fallen away Catholics, but women who went to Mass every Sunday, often midnight Mass at the Indiana State Catholic Student Center, that we’re talking about. (I went to Rose-Hulman, an all male engineering school right outside of Terre Haute. Girls under discussion were from Indiana State, or from St. Mary-of-the-Woods Catholic Girls’ college.)
Perhaps my post was repulsive to some, because of its direct language. That’s understandable. I have four teenage children and two younger, and I believe that my daughters need to know what types of challenges they face, how to recognize attempts at seduction, and they benefit from my being totally candid about my own past and leave them open for discussion if they think that makes me hypocrital since I advise them NOT to follow in my footsteps. This has opened channels of communications that have kept me informed in ways that many other parents may not hear from their children. My oldest (9th grade) daughter does what she can to help her friends, but sees them beginning to fall to worldly traps and sins of the flesh with practically no involvement of their parents.
This time I raise the issue directly, as a concerned parent and Catholic, so we can discuss it head on instead of under the context of Billy Joel.
Here are some of the things going on in the freshman class of the Catholic high school in which my daughter attends. There are many wealthy people who send their children to this school, and ex-employees of the school with whom I’ve worked say that especially among some of the wealthiest there is a collective blind eye that seems to be prevalent where we don’t admit there are any problems. This is easy to maintain, because except for the children who actually get caught, they all keep up a pretty good act, and of course if they don’t they are likely to be expelled. The school has an excellent reputation, good religious teaching, and very strict discipline and dress code policy. When I go to pick up my kids, those kids coming out are the image of innocence and scholarship with their nice uniforms and everything. Graduates receive high offers from prominent colleges and employers report they are very good workers. Therefore, I am not dissing this particular school but exposing what I believe to be the current state of the world for youth.
These have been corroborated by my daughter, a couple of her “still chaste” friends, several juniors seniors at the school including my two sons – one who is senior and the other who graduated last year – and yesterday by a teacher at the school.
Rainbow parties: freshman Catholic girls and boys attend parties where they wear bracelets with edible beads of various colors. The exact details are a bit sketchy, bit it goes a little like this: a boy eats a bead off the bracelet of a girl, and then she is “obligated” to perform favors for him – the exact favor designated by a color code of the beads.
Rest room breaks: I just found this one yesterday from some juniors and the psychology teacher at the school. Apparently there are certain out-of-the-way rest rooms where girls have found they can get away with sneaking into the boys’ room between classes for some quick illicit behavior.