At the heart of this sermon was raising children to live chaste and celibate lives until determining their vocation - whether that would be for Holy Orders, marriage, or remaining single. It is a very challenging message, posing a monumental challenge to guard oneself emotionally, physically, and spiritually in a lust-filled world. Here is the original post, including the audio link.
I originally listened to this sermon on my way to Cincinnati. Then I was interested to hear what my father had to say about it. So, we listened to it together.
Immediately, he thought the priest was expecting too much from the average teenager. I disagreed and said it was exactly what teenagers needed to hear. So, we had a spirited discussion about realistic expectations and whether the priest's message was too strict. So, I proposed having a poll on my blog to see what others thought. He was concerned that the poll would go in my favor because my readers would know my opinion. I reminded him that I would not share my opinion and it was never a good idea to assume anything; although some of you may have suspected which way I leaned since I launched the "Castitas" videos on chastity months ago.
The one thing we wished we realized was to track the votes of men and women. We did wonder if more women would be pro-message and more men would say it was too demanding. So, we don't have anything to tell us that. However, 75% of those participating said they agreed the teaching on the whole was realistic. 25% thought it was unrealistic.
The one point I stressed with my father was this: why not err on the side of high expectations? Why not encourage young people to reach for what will ultimately bless them?
Some may say that such strict perimeters in courtship would cause one to run into the other direction of loose morals. I don't agree. I think a good case of the "guilts" can go a long way toward causing a teenager to think twice before engaging in behavior that will harm them either physically, emotionally, or both. Sexuality is a gift from God. A baby is a gift from God. But living according to God's blueprint for marriage and family is best.
So, if you have any other thoughts, feel free to comment some more. My father now owes me a lunch but he pretty much always treats me! I'm going to get him a "consolation" prize!
Oh, and if you think you've got your Christian family doctor watching your back when you take your 12-year old daughter in for her check-up, you've got another thing coming. Read this entry on Patrick Madrid's blog and be prepared.