(Talk delivered to Pope JohnPaul Major Seminary Awka during their NFCS convention, 5th May 2018).
*Explanation of terms
– Materialism is the tendency to consider material possession and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. Philosophically speaking, it is the theory or belief that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.
– Immorality means behaviour not considered to be good or honest by the society. Therefore, sexual immorality is the act of not following the accepted standards of sexual behaviour laid down by one’s society.
– Sexual immorality ; According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, 6th edition, sex is physical activity between two people in which they touch each other’s sexual organ. Sexual immorality therefore ranges from formication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, bestialism, etc.
– Immodest dressing ; By immodest dressing we mean clothing that leaves certain areas and percentage of the human body either bare or else accentuated, with the effect and or the intention of “advertising one’s charms” for vanity and or sexual allurement.
* The scientific theory of pheromones states that certain
biochemical substances ooze out from the body of a woman, for example to attract the opposite sex especially when these are partly exposed.
– Examples of such dresses on women are ; Low -cut blouses, micro -shirts, mini – skirts, shorts, sleeveless blouses and dresses, tight garments, transparent or onion -skin thin garments, perforated blouses at breast, naval and stomach regions, etc.
– Examples of such dresses on men include ; Jersey – type shirts, shorts, tight garments, unbuttoned shirts, etc.
YOUTHS AND THE 21ST CENTURY ERA OF UNGODLINESS
The 21st century has been called the jet age – the internet generation with multiple facilities promoting and facilitating immorality among Youths. It is an age when Youths do not need to make special efforts to watch pornographic movies and pictures but these are 24 hours available in all electronic and social media gadgets. What has always been true according to Confucius is that ‘Lust is the sin of youth, power the sin of middle age and avarice the sin of old age’ but what has become more rampant in our days is the freedom and ungodliness of our Youths. Nollywood, Hollywood and Bollywood are replete with phantoms of nudity packaged to our young ones like paradigms. The Ghanaian influence on Nollywood has brought nudity and immorality at the apogee of Nigeria theatre since every film being advertised today gives you the expected percentage of nudity as part of its catchment index on the Youths and generality of the populace.
The Scriptures warn about four families of sin of self indulgence ; (a) Immorality (b) Idolatry (c) Quarell (d) Intemperance/ drunkenness/ drug addiction, Gal 5 : 19f. Youths are the most hit in all these.
C. THE MADNESS OF NUDITY
Nudity is the first port of call in the journey of immorality. That’s why somebody said that you are addressed the way you dress. The book of Genesis found no better way of expressing the depraved state of moral bankruptcy that our fore parents Adam and Eve found themselves after the original sin than presenting their state of nudity. God called Adam : ‘ Where are you?’ . He reported himself immediately and confessed that he was ashamed to answer because he was naked. The Bible said that Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves to make themselves loin clothes that could barely cover their private parts. And God understood that they had sinned. The Bible said at the end of the day that ‘Yahweh God made tunics of skins for the man and his wife and clothed them and sent them away from that garden of blessedness, Gen 3 : 8 – 21. Don’t mind what the devil is telling so many priests and pastors about this. The fact is that the first fruit of immorality is immodest dressing and Christ said ‘You will come to know them by their fruits’, Matt 7 : 24. Fr G Idoko put it succinctly clear : ‘Every profession is known by the way they dress. As a priest is known by his cassock, a harlot is known by her nudity’.
* Experience of some young girls nudely dressed going for evangelism.
* The priest who came to another Parish and criticized the MOD for disturbing badly dressed girls.
Pornography and nudity is a dangerous threat to human freedom because a philosopher said that ‘One man’s freedom ends where another man’s freedom begins’. People may feel that they are free to put on whatever they like but they should realize that they are not also free to distract others serenity of view.
* A gory seen created at Ogige Nsukka last year when a byke man held a nudely dressed girl in the Park for abuse of his freedom.
* My experience with my Supervisee in my department who dresses ‘to kill’ me.
Another dimension to this madness is the kind of music that Youths patronize these days ; the Flavours and Finos full of “ukwu nwanyi” and “ara dara ada adago”. My lecturer Professor Chris Onyeji warned us in those days as undergraduates in the department of Music that “Music is spiritual and those who play it must play it in spirit and truth”. It is almost impossible for anybody that plays dirty music to be chaste.
* My experience in my Parish of even Block Rosary Children playing and dancing immoral music during the party organized on the Birthday of Our Lady.
D. WAY OUT
There has to be a revolution against the trend and it can only begin in the Church . Monsignor Tadeo Onoyima has carried such a crusade in St Peter’s Chaplaincy UNN. I was once embarrassed in a Wedding ceremony in a Junior Seminary where the girls sitting in the first four rows where all virtually half naked. I had to shout. Listen, Edmund Burke has said it that ‘the only reason for the triumph of evil is that good people say nothing and do nothing’. We need revolution in Christian education. Whatever the Church can do to reclaim the moral instruction of our Youths at Primary and Secondary School level should better be done now before it becomes too late. We need radical prophetism. We must speak out and condemn immorality wherever we see it and show good examples with our own lives. The scriptures have warned that looking àt a woman lustfully is sinful, Matt 5 : 28 therefore a woman who dresses lustfully is evil. Women’s adornment must be modest, 1 Tim 2 : 9. A woman should not be clothed with a man’s apparel and vice versa, Deut 22 : 5.
The effect of this whole spate of ungodliness on Seminary formation is not something I can even mention here. During our Seminary days, lust came into the four walls of Seminary like a visitor but today I must tell you that it is there like a landlord. You know the rooms he occupies.
Don’t tell me that I am sounding backward because there is no backwardness in moral matters. What is good remains good and what is bad remains bad in spite of modernity. Winston Churchill says that ‘If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall soon find out that we have lost the future’. Immorality must be condemned at every age and epoch. Liberalism is only a tool in the hands of our enemy. Vima Dasan says that “Liberty without doctrine is like a sword in the hands of a lunatic.” We cannot allow our Youths to dictate the pace of morality especially in our Churches where we tend do be careful with our choice of words in homiletics so that we don’t scare away our Youths. Ratzinger calls this the ‘dictatorship of relativity’. When relativity rules in the Church, the moral thermometer is lowered to accommodate the weak and before we know it, the weak becomes the majority and those who are teaching the right things are seen as eccentrics.
Fulton Sheen warns that ‘Holiness must have a philosophical and theological foundation namely – Divine truth ; Otherwise, it is sentimentality and emotionalism’. The teachings of Christ on morality remain sacrosanct. No matter how loosely we interpreted it ; Immorality is sexual dishonesty, Immodesty is the beginning of sexual laxity/ permissiveness, Fornication is sexual pilfering, Adultery is sexual theft, Harlotry is sexual gambling, while Homosexuality, Incest and Bestiality is sexual madness. We must curb immorality from the roots of fashion and materialism. The gospel of our Lord Christ has got all the answers.
Published on Fr. Ben’s Talks on 7th May, 2018