I had a sad conversation this morning with one of my daughters. We were talking about breast cancer (I'm a survivor which puts my daughters at higher risk). In the course of the conversation I asked her about one of her peers who was a neighbor and friend. I'll call her Cathy. Cathy had a very aggressive breast cancer in her mid twenties and ended up with a double mastectomy. I was concerned to know how she was doing. Well, Cathy divorced her husband a few years ago, not for another man, but for a woman. She and my daughter are not in touch much, but I think they have reconnected casually on Facebook.
Frankly, I'm not surprised by Cathy's story. She was a confused teen who loved being as outrageous as possible. She picked up every fad from dressing "goth" to toying with the idea she was bi-sexual. (It was all the rage at the local public high school.). Her mom had the doctor put her on the pill when she was 15 or 16 and, with that kind of approval, I have no doubt that she fulfilled mom's expectations.
At Cathy's wedding she told me she tried to talk a friend out of an abortion because of "Mrs. Kreitzer." I was touched. I liked Cathy and always tried to gently talk sense to her.. And now I'm just sad. Cathy grew from a confused little girl to a confused young woman. She paid the price of her mother's foolishness in putting her on a strong hormonal drug that contributes to earlier and more aggressive breast cancers and she paid the price for their foolish tolerance. Cathy is the poster child for the sexually permissive society.
Her story reminds me of one told by psychologist William Coulson at a home schooling convention years ago. It was about a young woman from a large Catholic family who entered the IHMs (Immaculate Heart of Mary religious order) as a naive young girl fresh out of high school. It was during the social experiment after Vatican II when Carl Rogers and his protege Coulson set about helping the nuns "find themselves" through their "human potential" workshops. This young woman ended up being seduced by an older nun and became a lesbian.
As he told that sad story, the legacy of his work, he wept. It was a public confession and repentance. And he has devoted his life to exposing the disaster. Interestingly, in an interview posted on EWTN, he discussed, not just the IHMs, but the interventions with the Jesuits and the Mercy nuns. Consider their level of dissent and perhaps it is not surprising in view of their embrace of the Rogerian philosophy. Coulson said one of the things that happened following their workshops was "Jesuit formation virtually fell apart" between 1965 and 1975. And the movement was taking place all over the country in convents and monasteries as spinoff groups from Rogers organization, some headed by priests, began implementing and expanding Rogers' theories. Are you connecting the dots yet? Coulson does. In another article titled Full Hearts and Empty Heads (1994), he links the human potential movement to the sex abuse scandals.
Of course, Rogers and Coulson are just a part of the picture of the 20th century that is such a cultural bloodbath, both literally and figuratively. We all know casualties like my daughter's young friend. The question is, what to do to turn things around? Pray certainly, but I think the recent approval of the apparitions in Wisconsin give us a firm foundation for positive change: CATECHESIS.
More on that later. But please pray for Cathy. There are many young people out there today who may be great sinners, but they were also much sinned against. No wonder the Lord said it was better to be cast in the sea attached to a millstone than to commit scandal.