Culture Wars Feature Article

V-Day at St. Mary’s College

by E. Michael Jones

This article was published in the April, 2000 issue of Culture Wars magazine. Want a copy? Order here.

WARNING: Contains explicit language

"Modesty," according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity."

This thought, although probably not in those exact words, crossed my mind as I sat in Carroll Hall of Madeleva Hall at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, which bills itself as this nation’s premier Catholic college for women, listening to a performance of The Vagina Monologues. The point of the play according to one of the 18 or 19 year old, presumably Catholic girls who were mouthing the lines of the play like some bright pupil in the final round of a spelling bee, was to "reclaim cunt." To reclaim it from whom was not immediately evident as the 12 or so performers then began chanting like the croaking chorus from The Frogs of Aristophanes, "cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt."

St. Marys College entrance"Cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt," chanted the young ladies whose presumably Catholic parents were paying $20,000 a year for the privilege of being in this play. If anyone thought that the Holy Cross nuns who run St. Mary’s College were going to burst in and put and end to this obscene performance, that suspicion was laid to rest after a glance at the program showed that the lead role in the play was being performed by Sister Linda Cors, CSC, a Holy Cross nun herself and the person on campus in charge of something called Volunteer Services.

"Cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt, cunt," chanted Sister Linda wearing a black T-shirt with the question "Can you say vagina?" on the front and "It’s coming" on the back. Having seen the nuns’ habits come and go with all sorts of dowdy polyester variations in between, I found myself wondering whether this was the new habit for the Holy Cross nuns.

"Modesty," according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet" (#2522). Discretion may be the better part of valor, but it was evidently not Sister Linda’s long suit. Before she worked herself up into a sweat chanting dirty words at the young Catholic ladies in the audience, Sister Linda, adopted the persona of Eve Ensler, the author of the play, which according to the accompanying publicity, won an Obie award in 1998, and explained that the point of all this was "to look at our bodies and examine the place they hold in our lives."

Feminist psychology is nothing if not dualistic. Women according to this point of view "own" their bodies, which are wonderful "machines." The quotes here are all from Our Bodies Ourselves, the feminist tract of the ‘70s which established the dualistic psychology of feminism and the concomitant alienation of self from body once and for all. I know all this because the last time I was in Carroll Hall it was as an assistant professor giving a talk on Natural Family Planning, opposing the integral view of noncontraceptive sex to the mechanistic view proposed by the feminists, who were then bent on running their own machines. That talk got me fired. It was the last time Natural Family Planning (NFP) was proposed to the young ladies of St. Mary’s College. In the intervening 20 years, the feminists have consolidated their hold on campus, prohibiting, as they do elsewhere when they get enough power, any mention of sex that is not propaganda for lesbianism and masturbation.

Like the Marquis de Sade, the feminists believe that "woman is a machine for voluptuousness." The only quarrel they have with the Divine Marquis is who gets to run the machine. Sister Linda was clearing that question up for the girls in the audience. "I was worried about my vagina," she told the audience until that breakthrough moment when she realized "My vagina is me." "My clitoris," said one of the girls following Sister Linda’s lead, "was the essence of me. I had to be my vagina."

Marquis de SadeIn case the young ladies in the audience were at a loss as to how they could become their vaginas, Sister Linda and the girls provided a virtual instruction manual. The play was pure feminist agit-prop, which is to say propaganda for lesbianism and masturbation. As one has come to expect with this sort of thing, procreation is described in maximally disgusting terms, and heterosexual sex is invariably described as brutality and rape. The symbol of heterosexual sex, which is to say unapproved sex, in The Vagina Monologues is the "rape camp in Bosnia," one of the mass media ploys which got used to justify NATO intervention and then, like the 100,000 murdered Albanians in Kosovo, promptly disappeared down the memory hole after it had served its purpose. The only time it appears now is in plays like The Vagina Monologues, which warns the girls against things heterosexual. Things like rape camps in Bosnia and, of course, the family.

The family, in case you didn’t know it already, is the main locus of violence against women. "Home," chirped one of the girl actresses whose father is paying $20,000 a year to send her to St. Mary’s, "is a very scary place." "Shelters" of sort the girls were to sign up and work at following the play "are the first place women find comfort in the place of other women." Just what kind of comfort these poor women, who "suffer terrible violence" because "they have no access to therapy," find there soon becomes evident when the same young actress describes how one "woman met another woman at a shelter and they fell in love. They now have a beautiful life together."

Lesbianism, as you probably gathered, was portrayed in uniformly glowing terms throughout the play. Even a graphic description of a 13-year-old girl being sexually molested was proposed in unabashedly positive terms, primarily because it was a 24-year-old lesbian who was doing the molesting. No one in the cast, least of all Sister Linda, seemed to have any objection to child pornography, as long as it was being perpetrated by lesbians.

Lest one think that the faculty and students at St. Mary’s College were in any way original in their choice of drama, the performance there was one of 150 similar performances at colleges across the country during the week of Valentine’s Day. The project was known as V-Day, which gives some indication of how clever the feminists are. It was part of the general assault on decency which has become commonplace at institutions of higher education in the United States now.

"The core," James Atlas, chronicler of academic fads, announced a recent issue of the New Yorker, "has become hard core." Porn studies is now taught at NYU, Columbia, and Northwestern. Porn star/performance artist Annie Sprinkle is, according to Atlas, "a popular draw" on campuses. Professor Linda Williams of the University of California at Berkeley, delivered the keynote address at the World Pornography Conference in LA, which was hosted by the University of California at Northridge. Atlas, of course, portrays all of this in typically Whiggish fashion as some new-found liberation of the heretofore uptight halls of academe. But others are not so sure that is the most accurate description of what is happening. Candace de Russy, a trustee with the State University of New York system, claims that campuses like SUNY New Paltz, which hosted The Vagina Monologues as well as another venture in lesbian propaganda aptly entitled Revolting Behavior, attract large numbers of freshman only to have equally large numbers of freshmen drop out after their first year. She attributes the high attrition rate to the assault an their sense of modesty which the sexual liberationist agenda necessarily entails.

De Russy failed in her first attempt to get the president of SUNY New Paltz fired primarily because the forces of sexual liberation and the regime are one and the same thing in this country but also because the battle was enjoined essentially on the liberationists’ terms. There is no point calling for outrage. Outrage has no purchase on the average mind anymore. Richard Weaver talked about this phenomenon of dulling and stultification over 50 years ago. Things have gone down hill from then. One of the major benefits the ruling class gets from the promotion of pornography and obscenity is the dulling of outrage which invariably follows from it, and with outrage gone, gone too is the motivation to act. The main result of the widespread dissemination of transgressive imagery is passivity, and passivity on the part of the population is always a benefit to those in power.

This, of course, is not how pornography’s defenders portray it. The standard academic line justifying the showing of pornography on campus is that who collaborate with the industry are disseminating information, and, after all, disseminating information is what universities do, isn’t it. What the academic defenders of one-handed sex don’t discuss is the fact that pornography also exterminates thought, and the answer to why academics would want to do that lies in the purpose of "higher education" as it gets practiced under this regime, which is to say as a form of political control.

The purpose of V-Day, according to its promoters is to "stop the violence now." Even a superficial reading of this text makes that claim hard to believe. "I like to play with the rim of the vagina," declaims one of the St. Mary’s students, "my tongue is on her clitoris. My three fingers are inside her vagina." Just what effect would descriptions like this have on someone who is having a difficult time keeping control of his sexual passion? Would it inspire chastity? The avowed purpose of the V-Day celebration of masturbation and lesbianism overlooks the connection between sexual passion and violence that the ancients knew well enough and which lies at the heart of the Catholic Church’s position in defense of modesty.

Exposure to pornography does not result in satiation, as the now discredited Lockhart Commission claimed. It may result in satiation to a particular picture or film, but at the same time the viewer in becoming satiated simply requires a more bizarre form of stimulation to achieve the excitement he previously received with relatively 'normal' pornography. In addition exposure to pornography creates in the viewer a fundamentally distorted view of sexuality that can lead to assaults on women. In their article "Massive Exposure to Pornography," published in 1984, Zillman and Bryant find that "massive exposure to pornography fosters a general trivialization of rape. It can only be speculated that this effect results from the characteristic portrayal of women in pornography as socially nondiscriminating, as hysterically euphoric in response to just about any and every sexual or pseudo-sexual stimulation, and as eager to accommodate any and every sexual request. Such a portrayal, it seems, convinces even women of the hyperpromiscuous nature of women."

Many women learned about the connection between pornography and violence the hard way after their boyfriends became addicted to it. Some of these women were feminists. When Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon began to talk about pornography as violence against women, they found themselves slapped down by the establishment feminists, which as the name implies were feminists working for the establishment, in this case the publishing industry with its multiple ties to the pornography industry. The role Betty Friedan played in all this is instructive for those who want to understand connection between feminism and the financially lucrative violence against women which is pornography and which pornography inspires.

On January 21, 1986, Linda Boreman testified before the Meese Commission in New York. During her testimony, she described being kicked and beaten during the filming of Deep Throat in Miami as well as being held in bondage by Chuck Traynor as a prostitute. Perhaps sensing just how devastating Boreman’s testimony would be, the masturbation industry organized a pre-emptive strike a week before. On January 16, 1986, Betty Friedan and other prominenti, organized a press conference that eventually got released as a pamphlet entitled: The Meese Commission Exposed: Proceedings of a National Coalition Against Censorship. In attendance, in addition to Ms. Friedan were Kurt Vonnegut, Colleen Dewhurst, who eventually became head of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Harriet Pilpel of the ACLU, who made a career of defending Alfred Kinsey long after the man was in his grave, threatening to sue Pat Buchanan for a column he had written about Reisman’s expose of the deceased sexologist.

Friedan, who made a career out of portraying herself as sensitive to the needs of women, not only ignored the testimony of women like Linda Boreman, who were tortured for the nation's sexual titillation, but actually blamed them as traitors to their sex by collaborating with the Reagan administration in general and Attorney General Meese in particular. In fact, Friedan, ignoring the testimony of women who were both degraded and physically injured as a result of pornography-inspired sexual experimentation, outdid herself by claiming that "suppressing pornography is extremely dangerous to women." Friedan concluded her statement by claiming that "the ultimate obscenity in America was murderous violence" without the slightest indication that by 1986 the evidence about the source of murderous violence in libido emancipated from morals was all a matter of public record, the very record which Friedan's testimony hoped to suppress.

And Ms. Friedan was so avid in her support of pornography because the industry was in deep trouble at the time, primarily because of the Meese Commission. On April 10, 1986, the president of Southland Corporation, owner of 4,500 7-Eleven stores nationwide announced that it would no longer sell Playboy, Penthouse, or Forum magazines in its stores. The letter also made it clear that Southland was basing its decision in part on "Judith Reisman’s report before the Commission’s hearing on Child Pornography." Reisman’s testimony on "Images of Children, Crime and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler," had been given to the Commission on November 12, 1985, two weeks before she had been driven out of her offices at American University, where she had received a government grant to study the correlation between Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler and child molestation. Southland’s announcement caused such a public furor that other major drug and convenience stores as well as many "mom and pop" stores followed suit, announcing that they too were no longer going to offer the Playboy and other one-handed magazines for sale in their stores.

On June 5, 1986, less than two months after Southland Corporation announced that 7-Eleven would no longer be selling one-handed magazines in its stores, Steve Johnson of Gray and Co. wrote a letter to John M. Harrington, Executive Vice President of the Council for Periodical Distributors Associations, thanking him for their meeting a week before. In that meeting, attended also by Gray and Co. associates Frank Mankiewicz and Ray Argyle, Johnson and Harrington discussed the problems, both potential and actual, which the Meese Commission, which was scheduled to release its report in less than a month, posed to the publishing industry as well as strategies, both long and short-term, to discredit the commission. The publishing industry had formed an ad-hoc committee called the Media Coalition to combat the Meese Commission’s efforts.

Membership in the Media Coalition read like the who’s who of the publishing industry and included: the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Council of Periodical Distributors, the International Periodical Distributors Association, and the National Coalition of College Stores, which meant that some of them had a direct financial interest in the sale of pornography, a fact which came up in the Johnson letter, when he said that the financial interests of the Media Coalition would have to be disguised by transferring the attention of the public to First Amendment issues. That this was not going to be easy or cheap became clear when Johnson began discussing the cost of the project and arrived at a figure of $75,000 a month as his initial estimate. Moreover, Gray was apparently only one of several PR firms hired to help the Media Coalition.

The purpose of the campaign was to generate the illusion of widespread, "grass-roots" support, when in fact Johnson himself admitted in his memo that "the [Meese] Commission’s findings and recommendations will likely find widespread public acceptance." In a society which claimed to be democratic, it was essential to cloak the financial interests of those who profited from exploiting sexuality behind a facade of "grass-roots" support. Mendacity was essential to manipulation of this sort; without it, the manipulation would not work.

The memo was also a good indication of how the political system worked in the United States, but beyond that it was also an indication of how commercialized lust functioned in that system. The essence of a republic is devotion to the common good. The essence of empire is power, the power not of the people, but of one faction over another. Just as the republic needs virtue in order to function, the empire runs on lust. Empire is politically organized appetite. Each faction strives to use the power of the state to gratify its own desires. As politicians succumb one by one to the lure of money to ensure their election and re-election, the order of the state becomes determined by those who pay the highest price for it. Those with the most money control appetite. So to insure that they stay in power, they promote unfettered appetite, feeling that the ultimate outcome of what are essentially financial transactions will be in their favor.

Wilhelm Reich felt that only socialism could lead to sexual freedom, and that unfettered sexual freedom would lead to socialism. It turns out that he was wrong. Capitalism was much better at exploiting sexual appetite, and the political system it created is much better at turning unfettered appetite into a form of political control via economic exploitation. In the 1990s, unfettered appetite meant charging a price for what used to be free. It meant the reduction of all aspects of life, including the most intimate and sacred, to a form of consumerism. It meant promoting bondage, both spiritual and economic, in the name of freedom. Ultimately, the followers of the Enlightenment believed what Augustine said when he claimed in the City of God that a man had as many masters as he had vices, but not in the way that Augustine said it. The Enlightenment simply reversed the values while espousing essentially the same concept. The Enlightenment promoted vice among its victims as a way of becoming both their economic and political masters. Plato was right; freedom of this sort did lead to slavery. Sexual liberation was a form of political control.

Eve Ensler

Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler

This is not to say that the purpose of The Vagina Monologues is to promote violence against women. The purpose of Deep Throat was not to promote violence against women either. The purpose of Deep Throat was to make money by pandering to base passion, and in the course of doing just that it unleashed enormous amounts of violence against women, as their testimony before the Meese Commission on Pornography in the mid-’80s made clear. The purpose of The Vagina Monologues is various. Among the old and jaded feminists of the first generation it generates the feeling that everyone is as depraved as they are and that they are, therefore, not so bad, and that feminism hasn’t really wrecked their lives as they fear in their more candid moments. The purpose of The Vagina Monologues among a younger audience is different, although no less pernicious. Its purpose is to promote unnatural sex because unnatural sex is the best form of political control.

The play’s promotion of masturbation makes that clear. "Betty Dodson," we were told during a segment called "The Vagina Workshop," "has been teaching women for over 30 years to locate, love and masturbate their vaginas." What followed was another graphic account of sexual activity, this time of the autoerotic activity that takes place in Dodson’s "workshops." The name Betty Dodson is the Rosetta Stone which unlocks the real meaning of The Vagina Monologues, especially as performed for the benefit of Catholic college students. Dodson featured prominently in Dusan Makavejev’s film WR: Mysteries of the Organism, the film which launched the Reich Revival in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Reich was the pioneer in what he called sex-pol work, which meant putting sex to political use, in his case in Vienna and Berlin in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s. Kate Millett took the concept of sex pol and made it into the title of her book Sexual Politics, one of the seminal feminist texts and also the one which made apparent that the revival of feminism in the late ‘60s and the revival of Reich were one and the same thing. Feminism was applied sex pol, but having said that the same question applies to both feminism and The Vagina Monologues: Cui bono?

In order to answer that question we have to describe the sides in the Kulturkampf which raged throughout the German-speaking world in the period between the two world wars. Reich was a communist and a Freudian and as such his main opponent in Vienna was the Catholic Church. After years of trying in vain to debate the existence of God and getting nowhere in persuading people to become atheistic communists, Reich noticed a simple fact. If you changed the sexual behavior of idealistic young Catholics in the direction of sexual liberation, which included masturbation, then the idea of God simply evaporated from their minds and they defected from the Catholic Church, and the way to successful revolution was clear. The key to bringing about revolution was changing sexual behavior, something he noticed in a communist girl whose behavior he discusses in The Mass Psychology of Fascism. The girl was in the habit of masturbating, when a woman brought up the idea of divine punishment she stopped masturbating.

"The compulsion to pray," Reich writes, "disappeared when she was made aware of the origin of her fear; this awareness made it possible for her to masturbate again without feelings of guilt. As improbable as this incident may appear, it is pregnant with meaning for sex-economy. It shows how the mystical contagion of our youth could be prevented [my emphasis]. (Mass Psychology, p. 155).

The revolution which could bring about the overthrow of the political power of the Catholic Church in Austria was based, not on debate, but behavior: "We do not discuss the existence or nonexistence of God—we merely eliminate the sexual repressions and dissolve the infantile ties to the parents" (p. 182).

"The inescapable conclusion of all this," Reich concludes, "is that a clear sexual consciousness and a natural regulation of sexual life must foredoom every form of mysticism; that, in other words, natural sexuality is the arch enemy of mystical religion. By carrying on an anti-sexual fight wherever it can, making it the core of its dogmas and putting it in the foreground of its mass propaganda, the church only attests to the correctness of this interpretation." By getting people to act contrary to the Church’s teaching on sexual morals, Reich and his followers automatically limited its political influence. The logical conclusion of this is also clear: the total sexualization of a culture would mean the total extinction of the Church and the classical state based on the moral law.

"The process of the uprooting of mysticism" is accomplished more effectively, in other words, by deviant sexual behavior than by debate over the existence of God or the nth thesis of the Sixth International. Reich felt that sexual license would win out over self-control in every instance, and he probably felt that way based on his own experiences, where self-control lost consistently. But he also was empirical enough to see the same phenomenon in others. He mentions "clerics" who find it impossible to continue in their vocation once they have "felt on their own body" the "physical consequences" of sexual license. (p. 182).

The real purpose of play like The Vagina Monologues is to "uproot" the Catholic faith in the girls who attend St. Mary’s College by promoting masturbation and deviant sexual activity. The political implications of this insight are clear, but they can be put into effect only after a cultural revolution has taken control of the instruments of culture. In other words, most people will not act out sexually in any consistent fashion on their own. They will be cowed by social convention into inhibition or brought by it to repentance. Reich noticed the inhibiting effect of culture on his patients. He was also quick to draw a conclusion which was the converse of the one he discovered. If women are inhibited sexually by culture, changes in the imagery promoted by the culture will bring about a change in behavior, which will in turn bring about a change in values.

When I talk to a sexually inhibited woman in my office about her sexual needs, I am confronted with her entire moralistic apparatus. It is difficult for me to get through to her and to convince her of anything. If, however, the same woman is exposed to a mass atmosphere, is present, for instance, at a rally [or a play] at which sexual needs are discussed clearly and openly in medical and social terms, then she doesn’t feel herself to be alone. After all, the others are also listening to "forbidden things." Her individual moralistic inhibition is offset by a collective atmosphere of sexual affirmation, a new sex-economic morality, which can paralyze (not eliminate!) her sexual negation because she herself has had similar thoughts when she was alone. Secretly, she herself has mourned her lost joy of life or yearned for sexual happiness. The sexual need is given confidence by the mass situation; it assumes a socially accepted status. When the subject is broached correctly, the sexual demand proves to have far more appeal than the demand for asceticism and renunciation; it is more human, more closely related to the personality, unreservedly affirmed by everyone. Thus, it is not a question of helping, but of making suppression conscious, of dragging the fight between sexuality and mysticism into the light of consciousness, of bringing it to a head under the pressure of a mass ideology and translating it into social action (p. 187).

The girls at St. Mary’s are like Lisa Palac, the queen of cybersex, and author of another paean to masturbation, The Edge of the Bed. Palac was raised a Catholic in a Polish family in Chicago ( "I tell them I was raised Catholic. We all have a good yuk over that one. Ah, Catholicism. Where sex is dirty and the thrill of transgression is endless!" p. 7) but before long she became a media supported promoter of masturbation to pornography, which in Reichian terms is the best prophylaxis against Catholicism.

In The Vagina Monologues and in Palac’s book we find the mirror image to the story that Reich recounts in the Mass Psychology of Fascism. Lisa Palac is a Catholic girl who stopped praying when she started masturbating; the girl Reich mentions was a Communist girl who stopped masturbating when she started praying. In both instances, the sexual dimensions of this political struggle between the Enlightenment and the Catholic Church are clear. Whoever determines sexual mores rules the state. Those things remain constant. The details change but the big picture remains. The cultural revolution in the United States during the ‘60s was a replay of the cultural revolution in the German-speaking world between the wars. Reich and his followers, according to Sharaf, "wanted to wrest education from Catholic hands and influence the minds of the young. The idea was to develop the whole person; the aim, to build a ‘socialist man.’"

That battle was simply transposed to American soil when many of the cultural bolshevists were expelled by the Nazis and found asylum in the United States. The "bitter political polarization between the Christian Socialists with their rural Catholic constituency, many still devoted to the monarchy, and the urban, secularly oriented Social Democrats" simply got transposed to America, where representatives of the declining Protestant elite like Paul Blanshard opened up their institutions to people like Reich, and Paul Tillich and Walter Gropius and the other cultural bolshevists as a way of waging war on American Catholics, who were beginning the demographic and consequent political resurgence that coincided with the baby boom. The sexual revolution of the 1960s was the WASP cultural counterattack against that Catholic resurgence. During the ‘60s, the purpose of sexual liberation was to convince women to use contraceptives. In the ‘90s, the purpose of sexual liberation is to convince women to masturbate. The goal in both instances is control. In the first instance, the purpose was to wrest the sexual lives of Catholic women from the hands of the Church as a way of weakening Catholic political power, which was based on Catholic demographics. The fact that the Church lost that battle meant that further fighting was necessary. Now the daughters of women who took the pill are being exploited financially and sexually in a more extreme and explicit fashion. The only thing that changed during those 30 years was the extent of the bondage.

If the moral order is the basis of repression, then reason is repressive, and if reason is repressive, then man can only become free by becoming irrational, and once he becomes irrational, the only thing that drives him to act is his appetites, his impulses, and his passions. But once man is driven by his passions, he loses all control of his actions. Thus freedom of this sort, as Plato rightly saw, becomes a form of slavery. Those who advocate freedom of this sort are promoting, whether they understand it or not, a form of social control because the motive for action which previously lay in reason has now been replaced by the stimulation of passion. Those who control the stimuli now control the stimulated. The purpose of transgressive imagery is social control. Those who relinquish reason are controlled by their passions, which are exploited financially and politically by those who control the flow of transgressive imagery. The people who profit financially from promoting the imagery contribute to the election of those who will protect it politically, and so a form of political control evolves from a system of financial exploitation.

What we see in the performance of The Vagina Monologues at this soi disant Catholic college is an attempt to break down the defense against exploitation which modesty provides as a prelude to sexual and political colonization. The colonization takes place on a personal level, by inculcating bad habits, and then it entails organizing those bad habits politically into something like feminism. The brochure handed out before the play made clear that "professional, one-on-one support [was] available through the performance as well as following the performance." The young ladies were then enjoined to "join us for discussion after the performance." "Those interested in volunteering to make a change in lives of women, " were urged to "stop by and sign up." Like the women’s shelters which the St. Mary’s students are urged to staff, The Vagina Monologues becomes a way identifying those who can be subjected to more intense forms of social and sexual engineering. The more they follow this path the more vulnerable they become to more and more ruthless forms of exploitation.

Which brings us back again to the purpose of modesty, which the Catechism describes as inspiring "a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies." As one of the ladies who has written one of the many books promoting pornography said, watching pornography fosters a culture in which people "say yes to appetite," and getting its citizens to say yes to appetite is the main way this regime controls them. This is true of all forms of advertising, but the more intimate the appetite the more total the control. Since modesty is a form of protection, getting these girls to violate that modesty is simply a way of subjecting them to the most ruthless sort of economic exploitation and political control.

Just why Catholic parents should pay $20,000 a year for the privilege of having St. Mary’s College do this to their daughters is anyone’s guess. The prime reason this happens is because of the mendacity of the college administration. St. Mary’s bills itself as a Catholic college for women, but it is in reality a feminist college for Catholics. Parents send their children there thinking they are going to get a Catholic education when in fact they are paying to have their children’s faith and morals subverted. The college maintains this illusion by rigorously controlling the flow of information to the alumnae. There are many things which will never appear in the alumnae magazine. One of them is an accurate description of the performance of The Vagina Monologues that took place at Madeleva Hall. In lieu of that description, the college will send to its alumnae more contribution envelopes graced with pictures of the Virgin Mary.

To be fair to the college, one has to add that liberal Catholics are avid to be deceived on sexual issues. They accepted contraception thinking that they could simply use it as a way of limiting the number of children they had. In making this Faustian pact, they got more than they bargained for. What they didn’t understand is that contraception causes not only drive-by shootings but the complete unraveling of the social fabric. As part of that unraveling it brought about the complete subversion of Catholic education. It also brought about an ineluctable endorsement of homosexuality. The parents who contracept don’t want to know the truth, not the truth about sex or anything else, and so they end up paying $20,000 a year to have their daughters recruited into the ranks of political lesbianism regardless of what their intentions are on the matter. The logic of subversion is inexorable.

When the first line of defense against the subversion of Catholic education fails, it is up to the bishop to protect the young ladies there against this type of ideological exploitation. The bishop, unfortunately, has been like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car for 15 years now. The more he contemplates the situation, the more paralyzed he becomes. His last contribution to the ongoing crisis was to attack the Vatican proposal calling for a juridical relationship between Catholic colleges and the Church and propose more dialogue on the issue instead. Is The Vagina Monologues what the bishop had in mind when he called for more dialogue? Is his idea of dialogue listening to one of the nuns under his jurisdiction leading a chorus of Catholic teenagers in chanting the word cunt? If so, he should reread the catechism on moral permissiveness, something which is based on "an erroneous concept of human freedom." True freedom on the other hand, has one "necessary precondition" and that is "to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart and the moral and spiritual dignity of man."

E. Michael Jones


E. Michael Jones, Ph.D. is the Editor of Culture Wars magazine, as well as author of the new book Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control (South Bend: St. Augustine’s Press, 1999, available from Fidelity Press.)

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