Lose Sexual Morality, Get Sexual Regulations

As school begins, student orientation at campuses across the country this year involves more than directions to the library and the hours of the fitness center. A full-scale federal assault on sexual assault has begun.

The writing is on the wall: The free-sex culture is being called to task. Canon-law compliant Catholic colleges and universities (those that publicly require the mandatum) are enthusiastically participating. We have known all along what the culture is slowly remembering: Sexuality matters, and sex is not the risk-free fun-land we have been pretending it is.

Not that the federal regulators understand the matter the same way the Church does. This fall’s expansion of Title IX enforcement into sexual harassment seems to be built around the principle that everything goes, as long as there is verbal consent from two people sober enough to make the consent. The Church’s teaching allows a lot less than “everything” and the consent it requires is the “irrevocable consent” of marriage.

All the same, much of the materials promoting the new Title IX rules are messages Catholics can get behind. For instance:

I did x

Yes, campuses should encourage women to  support one another and yes, a school should ensure that students are assisted in returning to classes without fear of further harassment after sexual abuse.

Many of the materials deal with the Clintonized climate in America in which powerful men can carry on unhindered with those in subordinate positions. Catholics have been cracking down on that in a major way for more than a decade.

95 percent unreported

What the materials don’t seem to address is the question: Why has the culture become so toxic for women on college campuses in the first place?

Couldn’t it be because the celebration of sexuality has gotten so out of hand it has had a chilling effect on common sense?

Ally Sheedy’s Breakfast Club character was right:


There are two ways out of that trap: Don’t call girls sluts and don’t call girls prudes.

We are finally learning not to do the first. Women are fed up with a situation where they are made responsible for the behavior of their attackers.

if you are dumb enough

And they are right when they say:


It is sad that we live in a culture where this is very important advice that all young women need to hear:

safe drinks

But maybe since this is fact is so true …

90 percent alcohol

… then maybe we should be teaching about the immorality of getting drunk? In Catholic parlance, it is grave matter and, when done deliberately and with knowledge of its gravity is a mortal sin.

And maybe since this is also true:

Yes 2

… then we should stop “prude-shaming” promoters of modesty and sexual restraint.

Because sexuality is not a risk-free fun-land. There once was a very clear way the world got that message out:


We decided that was too heavy handed and rejected that system. So now we have to put this system in place instead:

six point uiowa




  • Michael P.

    But what about the rampant amount of false accusations? Shouldn’t we be punishing these women (and now sometimes even men) that destroy innocent men’s lives over these false reports? It detracts from the real victims, and punishes the innocent.

  • Harry Smith

    Tom, you stated “Women are fed up with a situation where they are made responsible for the behavior of their attackers.” Doesn’t the Catholic Church state that if a pregnancy occurs because of rape, the woman (or child) must give birth? Isn’t that the same as ” they are made responsible for the behavior of their attackers.” ?

    • Julie

      Harry, it’s a tragedy that a woman who’s gone through rape has to then go through having a baby. Unfortunately, there are only two options: have the baby, or have an abortion. We can and should support the woman through her pregnancy, but killing an innocent child is not an option. Why should a baby die because their father was a rapist? Their life is no less valuable because of the circumstances of their conception. It will certainly be a more difficult pregnancy for a woman who is pregnant from rape, but it is better to suffer evil than to inflict it. Just because someone has committed an evil deed against us does not mean we can commit another evil deed.

      I recommend Rebecca Kiessling’s website. There you can watch a documentary which interviews women who became pregnant after rape, and people conceived through rape.

  • Deacon Allan J Frederiksen

    The loss of the sense of morality is a direct result of the loss of sense of good family structure; A caring mother and a caring father to properly raise the children in a loving home. When that disappears, all else is subjective.

  • Kathleen Skarupinski

    When we learn what a Catholic marriage involves and adheres to and we accept God as the center in the sacrament, both man and woman are blessed and secure within their sexuality and responsibilities toward this vocation; to one another and as one. There are many marriages which seem to be God centered by displays and rituals. This does not describe a Catholic marriage. So, when one understands the truth in a Catholic marriage, there is no cause to ask questions from this article alluding to the incorrect information one may have regarding Catholic marriages. We need to review our Catechism and the words of our Lord in the many times this is available to us through Mass and prayer.

    Regarding the nail polish.. another rationalization to set more women up under a false protective umbrella?…again, making it easier to avoid the harder job of abstaining, which in our culture is taken as an evil word and works against all the pleasures we may be missing. The larger question would be why has rape increased steadily even with many such ‘so called protections’ out there? Could it have anything to do with what the article has been stating, although it was not directly mentioned, but part of our Catholic life is chastity and purity. Our interaction with the world is a huge challenge and without God and the opportunities He offers us, we will assuredly fail.

  • Faustina

    “The Church’s teaching allows a lot less than “everything” and the consent it requires is the “irrevocable consent” of marriage.”
    So, are you saying that sexual assault doesn’t happen in marriages? Are you suggesting that marriage is a blanket consent for all future sexual encounters?

  • http://catholicvote.org Irene Swanson

    There is a nail polish out there right now that turns to black if there has been some tampering to one’s drink. My goodness. THAT’S a response????? Well, it is better than nothing. Debauchery…in the rage on all campuses.



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