How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Ephesians 4, 14). Having a clear Faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching', looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires. However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an 'Adult' means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false and deceit from truth.
Pope Benedict XVI
There can have been no doubt in Eleanor's mind as to what was expected of her as a wife. In her day, women were supposed to be chaste both inside and outside marriage, virginity and celibacy being highly prized states. When it came to fornication, women were usually apportioned the blame, because they were the descendants of Eve, who had tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden, with such dire consequences. Women, the Church taught, were the weaker vessel, the gateway to the Devil and therefore the source of all lechery. St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: To live with a woman without danger is more difficult than raising the dead to life. Noblewomen, he felt, were the most dangerous so fall. Women were therefore kept firmly in their place in order to prevent them from luring men away from the paths of righteousness. Promiscuity--and its often inevitable consequence, illicit pregnancy--brought great shame upon a woman and her family and was punishable by fines, social ostracism and even, in the case of aristocratic and royal women, execution. Unmarried women who indulged in fornication devalued themselves on the marriage market. In England, women who were sexually experienced were not permitted to accuse men of rape in the King's court. Female adultery was seen as a particularly serious offence, since it jeopardized the laws of inheritance. Men, however, often indulged in casual sex and adultery with impunity. Because the virtue of high-born women was jealously guarded, many men sought sexual adventures with lower-class women. Prostitution was common and official brothels were licensed and subject to inspection in many areas. There was no effective contraception apart from withdrawal and the Church frowned upon that anyway: this was why so many aristocratic and royal bastards were born during this period.
Alison Weir
What is so rewarding about friendship? my son asked, curling his upper lip into a sour expression. Making friends takes too much time and effort and for what? I sat on the edge of his bed, understanding how it might seem simpler to go at life solo. Friendship has unique rewards, I told him. They can be unpredictable. For instance.... I couldn’t help but pause to smile crookedly at an old memory that was dear to my heart. Then I shared with my son an unforgettable incident from my younger years. True story. When I was about your age, I decided to try out for a school play. Tryouts were to begin after the last class of the day, but first I had to run home to grab a couple props for the monologue I planned to perform during tryouts. Silly me, I had left them at the house that morning. Luckily, I only lived across a long expanse of grassy field that separated the school from the nearest neighborhood. Unluckily, it was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella. Determined to get what I needed, I raced home, grabbed my props and tore back across the field while my friend waited under the dry protection of the school’s wooden eaves. She watched me run in the rain, gesturing for me to go faster while calling out to hurry up or we would be late. The rain was pouring by that time which was added reason for me to move fast. I didn’t want to look like a wet rat on stage in front of dozens of fellow students. Don’t ask me why I didn’t grab an umbrella from home—teenage pride or lack of focus, I’m not sure—but the increasing rain combined with the hollering from my friend as well as my anxious nerves about trying out for the play had me running far too fast in shoes that lacked any tread. About a yard from the sidewalk where the grass was worn from foot traffic and consequently muddied from the downpour of rain, I slipped and fell on my hind end. Me, my props and my dignity slid through the mud and lay there, coated. My things were dripping with mud. I was covered in it. I felt my heart plunge and I wanted to cry. I probably would have if it hadn’t been for the wonderful thing that happened right then. My crazy friend ran over and plopped herself down in the mud beside me. She wiggled in it, making herself as much a mess as I was. Then she took my slimy hand in hers and pulled us both to our feet. We tried out for the play looking like a couple of swine escaped from a pigsty, laughing the whole time. I never did cry, thanks to my friend. So yes, my dear son, friendship has its unique rewards—priceless ones.
Richelle E. Goodrich