Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened.  For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things.  Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves.  Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
 For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature.  And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.  And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers,  Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.
–St. Paul’s electrifying indictment of Sex Positivity remains as relevant today as it was to the decadence of Julio-Claudian times, memorialized by the poets of Latin’s Silver Age and such historians as Suetonius and Tacitus as a horrifying spectacle of carnal free-for-all and downwardly-mobile depravity. A commenter at heartiste recently pondered whether, had the ancient Romans enjoyed photography and television, would the citizens of the Empire have looked back upon the record of their republican forebears and revolted, before they would let their civilization collapse? And another commenter answered, They had something better than photographic evidence– they had statues, they had their temples and memorials, they had the orations of their great statesmen. And all this availed nothing, just as the photographs of svelte, well-mannered, productive Americans of prior generations avails us nothing now.
Even for the secular agnostic, St. Paul’s overture to the Epistle to the Romans should serve as a stirring psychological analysis. But, as Camille Paglia complains, no one does psychology anymore. Could even she deny the thrust of Paul’s charges? If her chapter on Donatello in Glittering Images is any indication, Paglia remains ambivalent about her life among the same-sex fleshpots, and half-expects to be lashed out from Sodom, or get turned to salt for backward-glancing.
My immediate occasion to quote the first chapter of Romans comes from Laura Wood’s latest essay, on the theological theatrics of the pseudo-conservative non-resistance from the Universalist Masonic Vatican’s family values synod. While I try to follow these labyrinthine shenanigans inside the Church, from the outside it only looks like a scene of freakish horror. If Christ built that Church, then truly, the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it; but the more it looks like a Witches’ Coven, the less I can fathom how anybody left today can introduce themselves to it, especially if the last true Catholics look liable to be reduced to St. Anthony’s in the wilderness, starved for the Mass because of all the avowed sodomites and heretics who will be pawing it. One might perhaps as well look for a good hill to get martyred on, and pray for a short spell in Purgatory, as expose oneself to the tender mercies of the atheist Argentino-Anglican and his brood.
–Oh yes: about the women’s turn from their “natural use”: is this about contraception? It always seemed strange to me that lesbianism would have priority (historically or causally) over male homosexuality. I suppose one could argue that’s possible; but in light of Will Durant’s ruminations over the Imperial aristocracy’s fervid pursuit of infertility, I think St. Paul probably means to indicate willful sterility, by practice of oral and anal sodomy, the use of contraceptives, and of course abortifacients.
All of which, of course, are de rigeur in the secular West today . . . .