.- George Mason University law professor Helen Alvare challenged Catholics to courageously witness to the truth of the Church’s sexual teaching, because doing so will aid the poor.
“The new sex, mating and marriage marketplaces have treated women terribly,” especially the poor, said Alvare.
She urged Catholics who object to the sexual mores of Western society to emulate Pope Francis' defense of Catholic teaching: “just as our leader is fearless, let us be fearless leaders.”
Alvare was featured as a guest speaker at the ninth annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held in downtown Washington, D.C., on May 9.
In her address, she argued that modern social and governmental structures promote “sexual expressionism,” which markets a message of “fear and despair” to the poor, women and minorities.
“The situation is growing increasingly difficult for our least educated Americans, and for our poorest and new immigrant groups,” Alvare noted.
When these policies are promoted throughout society, she said, “the rich will do fine, but the poor will go under.”
“The poorest citizens don’t really seem to be at the top of anybody's political agenda these days,” she observed, explaining that the poor are suffering on both an economic and human level from the values that modern society promotes.
Instead of seeking long-term solutions, policy makers try to fix social welfare issues “on the cheap” by promoting contraception, abortion and a message of sexual libertinism to the poor, who “thereafter suffer the highest rates of non-marital births, abortions, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies.”
In contrast, Alvare said, Christian teaching is able to offer a vision of sexuality and social welfare that promotes the flourishing of all persons.
She noted that today, Catholics have a wide variety of tools, such as Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and decades of experience and social science research “that show what really promotes the flourishing of women, men and children.”
“We know that linking faithful sex and marriage and parenting are closely related to the common good,” she stressed.
“We don't have to theorize about this anymore – we just have to face it, and begin fixing it.”
Alvare continued, saying that we “could measurably improve the lives of all Americans if we could, at the very least, stop the government from unlinking sex and marriage and kids, and begin the process of relinking them.”
She cautioned that promoting this vision of Christian sexual and social dignity will “require a robust religious freedom,” in which the government stops “forcing our religious organizations to go along with the program” of pushing contraception, abortion and the devaluation of Christian moral teaching.
It will also require fearless witness from all walks of life, including women and minorities, who must testify to the truth about Christian sexual ethics, she said.
Alvare compared addressing these issues on behalf of the poor to the story of the Good Samaritan.
“The only question is how you respond – not whether you should,” she explained.
Dismissing the idea that Catholics should shy away from controversial topics, she emphasized that issues surrounding sexuality “are the issues strewn in our path, thus these are the issues that require our attention.”
“You live where you live,” she said, adding that “you can’t choose which moral issues to address.”