The Bitter but Kitschy Catholics

You just know when a blogger spends so much time on a spelling error, it’s a whole lot of nothing by someone who knows a whole lot of nothing.  Maybe Mary Pezzulo might have wanted to actually look at the context of Janet Smith’s Facebook post before she commented on it.  Personally, I would have loved a link to the post too since there was probably a lot more interesting stuff to it.

Questioning Janet Smith’s Sexual Common Sense

February 22, 2017 by Mary Pezzulo 9 Comments

 I don’t know anything about Milo Yiannopoulos.

I’ve heard he’s a bully and he looks like a lounge lizard, but that’s all I know. My fellow Patheos bloggers can fill you in.

So, if you were waiting with baited breath for my opinion on Milo, sorry, I don’t have one.

And if she did, it would probably focus on some sort of grammatical error and have zero depth.

****UPDATE**** Oh my gosh!  A wonderful reader just sent me this bit of irony and I’m ashamed to say I missed this myself!

So, if you were waiting with baited breath for my opinion on Milo, sorry, I don’t have one.

It’s not “baited breath,” Mary.  It’s “bated breath!”

I mean, if a writer makes a spelling error like this, should Patheos really take her seriously?  Should any of us? If she doesn’t know her homophones, how can she comment on anything – ever?  I mean, she’s a writer and a blogger nonetheless!

Yes, it’s tongue in cheek and, yes, I’ve seen many a writer, blogger, teacher, etc. make silly little mistakes that don’t make their lives the downfall of society as Peluzzo seems to think as you read on.  I’m sure I’ve made many (probably in this one post).

I do have an opinion on something else, though.

Yesterday, all of my friends were in uproar about a public conversation, about Milo Yiannopoulos, between Doctor Janet E. Smith and her friends on Facebook.

Uproar?  Really?  Who was involved and where was this drama caused by Smith?  Is it the usual Patheos folks who seem to be in an uproar about things they don’t deem “done right?” I swear, Patheos has become the home of the bitter but kitschy Catholics.  (Not all of you, but if you’re upset at that description, it probably is you.)  Seriously, they might want to get their blood pressures checked.  I have never seen such instigating of infighting as done by some of the Patheos peeps. Not enough crazies over at America Magazine and National catholic Reporter to pick on?

Janet E. Smith has a doctorate in classical languages, but lectures in moral theology at a seminary. She recently gave a talk at Franciscan University. Her website is called “Janet E. Smith’s Sexual Common sense” and advertises her books and recorded lectures; these have comfortingly commonsense names like “Contraception: Why Not?” “Theology of the Old Body” and “Why Premarital Sex is Stupid.” As a writer myself, I tend to use titles which are too flowery and uninformative, so I admire her ability to cut to the chase. No one would wonder what kind of content they’d find in a lecture CD entitled “Why Premarital Sex is Stupid.” I hope the rest of her lecture was equally straightforward. Frankness, when educating about sex, is always better than the alternative.

But here’s the thing: frankness itself is not enough. You’ve actually got to know about sex to lecture about sex. You’d better know all about sex and sexual ethics, to lecture about moral theology at a Catholic seminary.  And Doctor Smith apparently does not.

The aforementioned conversation had any number of zingers, but this is the line that made my hair stand on end:

(See link above for a jpeg of conversation since Mary Pelluzo didn’t link to the actual conversation.)

Yes, I see the usually strait-laced Austin Ruse calling himself a “MILO fan” there, but ignore him for the moment. Doctor Janet Smith, a moral theologian who writes about “commonsense sexuality,” publicly declared the following:

“I don’t know why we need that new term ‘ephophilia’ or whatever. Pedophilia is with prepubescent boys–evidentily an almost an ineradicable pathology. Whereas it seems pederasty is sex between an older man and a “boy”– someone postpubescent.”

A professor with a doctorate said that. A professor with a doctorate in classical languages, neglected to look at the common Greek roots of the word “Ephebophilia” and figure out that she’s wrong about what it means. She can’t even spell it. She thinks pedophilia is only to do with boys. Most worryingly, a professor who lectures seminarians on moral theology, isn’t sure what pederasty is.”

Really? Because IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CONVERSATION ABOUT COMMENTS MADE BY MILO YIANNOPULOUS, Smith uses a definition referring to pedophilia that didn’t jive with EVERY case of it, she doesn’t know anything about sex and sexual ethics? How about we go back over this, Mary?   First of all, you glossed over Janet’s bio a little too quickly to gloat over the misspelling she made.  Yeah, hers is a little more extensive than yours.  Next, no, pedophilia doesn’t limit itself to males, and I will address YOUR definition of pedophilia further down, but Smith was talking about Milo’s discussion about male homosexual sex.  After that, what evidence do you have that Smith doesn’t know what pederasty is?  Did she spell that wrong too? Ephebophilia? That’s an attraction to teens of both sexes by adults.  Janet is perfectly right to call that into question when talking about Milo’s conversation with Joe Rogan.  It had nothing to do with the Milo case at hand.  Yes, she left out a whole evil syllable that was so crucial to the conversation that it calls into question her decades of amazing teaching in the area of human sexuality.  And darn it, we should also curse her for not relying on spellcheck.

 You know? I’m often embarrassed by my own ignorance. I make ignorant mistakes all the time. But at least I’m not a professor of moral theology who just publicly revealed she doesn’t know her field in the least.

Seriously? Well, please, Mary, you might want to let all those cardinals, priests, and bishops know that Janet doesn’t know a bit of morality because she misspelled a word and used it in the context of a man’s life that you, admittedly, know nothing about.  If I were you, I’d be embarrassed that you waded into a conversation you know nothing about over a spelling error.

For the record, DOCTOR Janet, it’s spelled “ephebophilia,” and it means a sexual preference for older teenagers, usually ages fifteen to nineteen and NOT the fourteen-year-old prepubescent boys you mentioned.

For the record, Mary, it was Austin Ruse who brought up a 14-year-old boy.  You’re super out of context on this one.

Ephebophilia is a sub-set of the group of sexual preferences known as chronophilas. It’s not a new term. It dates back to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The name “ephebophilia” comes from the Greek terms ephebos meaning “one arrived at puberty” and philia meaning “love.” Someone with a PhD in classics ought to know that instantly. It has nothing to do with being homosexual; a grown man preferring fifteen-year-old-girls is also an ephebophile.

Honey, you need to read the ENTIRE exchange you screen shot before you waste time giving the definitions you copied from Wikipedia.  (Don’t believe me?  Google “ephebophilia.”)  If you actually read the comment you posted, Smith advocated against using the term because it had nothing to do with Milo’s comments and, if you notice, she didn’t even give a definition of ephebophilia.  It wasn’t relevant to the conversation of Milo.  (Remember those comments you know nothing about?)

And, by the way, those who follow this stuff know that the word “ephebophilia”has only come into fashion in modern day use because the homosexual community and those who advocate for their lifestyle want to be just like everybody else.  They HATE pederasty because it’s exclusive to homosexual males, which means they can’t use the “What?  I’m just like everyone else?” argument.

“Pedophilia” refers to a sexual preference for children– not sex “with prepubescent boys” but a desire to have sex with boys or girls. It has nothing to do with homosexuality. It is not even itself a sex act, just a grossly disordered sexual desire.

Uh, really?  I thought you were fond of on-line definitions.  Merriam-Webster, and really, most law enforcement agencies, are going to disagree with you.  Not only is it the attraction, it is considered by most to include the act.  That might be why most of the world talks of “registered pedophiles” for those who commit some sort of sexual act with a child.  Let’s look at those oh-so-great dictionaries you’ve made half an attempt to use:

Definition of pedophilia

:  sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object; specifically :  a psychological disorder in which an adult has sexual fantasies about or engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child

And then there’s the ever so popular Wikipedia that you lifted from earlier:

In popular usage, the word pedophilia is often applied to any sexual interest in children or the act of child sexual abuse.[5]   (Remember this when you bring up “nowadays” in the next paragraph)

Oops!  Let’s hang ‘em all for using a different dictionary than you.

“Pederasty” nowadays refers to sex between a man and a boy–usually a boy between the ages of twelve and seventeen, often pubescent but sometimes not. It had a bit broader meaning historically, but based upon the conversation Doctor Smith was having she’s referring to the sex act.

And now we’re looking at “nowadays??”  Please.  Don’t you think it’s a tad bit hypocritical to complain about someone else’s use of the “nowadays” definition, but you’re just fine to do it?  You’re hanging everything on age ranges.  There is a range for pederasty because boys all look sexually mature at a different age.  It’s not what phase of development they are truly in but which phase the perpetrator sees them in.  They are either looking to perpetrate some sexual act on a child or on a boy who looks to be sexually mature.  This is where pedophilia changes to pederasty IN THE CASE OF MALE VICTIMS in the circumstance about which is the concern in the case of Milo.

These terms do not refer to the same thing. Pederasty is a sexual act; ephebophilia and pedophilia are grossly disordered sexual preferences.

Might I remind you of your use of “nowadays” again?  Law enforcement, pshycologist and regular folk are all using definition B.

And this is immensely important for a so-called moral theologian to know, because a mere preference or desire, no matter how disordered, can never in itself be a sin. A person could theoretically feel sexually attracted to teenagers their whole life, but if they never once acted or tried to act upon their disordered attraction, they’d be chaste. A person who commits pederasty commits grave matter, a reprehensible act of sexual predation– not just unchastity but rape.

Oh for heaven’s sake, when did sin come in to the conversation Ruse and Smith were having?  Now, if Mary had actually paused to listen to the “Milo tapes” or the comments of his on such tapes, you would see that Milo and Janet are using a common use of “pedophilia.”  I’m not really sure why this sent her over the edge.  It was Facebook, not from a moral theology lecture.  She might be having a forest through the misspelling scenario.

Considering the recent history of the priesthood, a moral theologian teaching at a seminary had better know how to spell ephebophilia, what it means and how it’s distinct from pedophilia; she’d better know it’s not a new term and certainly not a new idea. She’d better know what pederasty is. She’d better know the difference between a preference and an act.

 That’s it, Archbishop Vigneron! You should fire Janet and hire Mary, because, you know, she’s so good at using Wikipedia.  How could you think of having someone who doesn’t cherry pick their Wiki definitions to suit their argument?  What is the Catholic world coming to? 

I wonder if such a person should be publicly defending the remarks of Milo Yiannopoulos in the first place, but as I’ve admitted I don’t know enough to comment on that.

Uh, talk about facts not entered into evidence!  Maybe you should keep your wondering to yourself, lest you taint the jury.

Yesterday, Doctor Smith responded to the backlash against her conversation by pleading that she was educated by “a veritable Socrates.” But whoever this veritable Socrates was, he apparently never had her read any Socratic dialogues or she’d certainly know what pederasty was.

I think she defined it quite well.  Not only that she seems to understand that it’s based on age in the eye of the beholder verses a specific age or range.

Do you know why people don’t take Catholic sexual ethics seriously? Well, having a popular scholar in the area speaking this sloppily can’t be helping very much.

She’s good at writing titles for her lectures, though; gotta give credit where credit is due.

Really, Mary, if you really think a sexual ethics powerhouse like Janet Smith’s Facebook comment is why people don’t take sexual ethics seriously, you might be part of the problem. You got caught up in the “I’m way smarter than she is” game, rather than looking at the whole of the topic and conversation.  I mean, you admitted as much, after all.

Next time, you should do a bit of research on the very flawed Catholic, Milo Yiannopulous.  His struggles with sexual ethics might be a very good thing for you read about, and the recording in question might at least help you to understand the conversation about which you decided to write.  While he came on the scene to most during the election, I’ve been following him for a long while.  Personally, I’d like to adopt him. I have a soft spot in my heart for people clearly engaging in a moral struggle.  I pray for him whenever he crosses my mind.  I’m hoping he finds the strength to leave the lifestyle and doesn’t wait around for the Oscar Wilde deathbed reform of his life.  He doesn’t lie about his proclivities (in fact he says quite a bit too much sometimes), but he doesn’t expect the Catholic Church to run around them.  He knows the teachings are right and, even though he was abused by a priest, he struggles on as a Catholic. He has, indeed, been responsible for bringing down pedophiles (please don’t whip out the selective definitions).  Is he perfect?  No, but at least he isn’t trying to bring down the Church or bend it around his lifestyle, nor is he trying to take down good Catholics who provide a wealth of information on why going against God’s natural law is always disastrous.

I’m sure Janet and I would not agree with every point in life (nobody does), but kudos for your life of great work in the Catholic arena, Dr. Smith!

By the way, there are two articles on this topic over at Patheos.  Ironically, the most recent talks about Ruse and Smith wasting everyone’s time.  If this is the case, why are you giving them so much attention?  Like I said, there are plenty of other worthy fights to pick over at America Magazine or National catholic Reporter.