There has been a growing cultural shift in the understanding of the body from something that is deeply personal and constitutive of who we are to something purely instrumental, to be employed as our own disembodied consciousness sees fit.
|English: Neural Correlates Of Consciousness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
This drift into philosophical dualism with respect to the human person has been, quite literally, deadly. It leads directly to the use of the bodies of others as sexual objects, contraception, homosexuality, genetic engineering, sterilization, sex-change operations, embryo harvesting, abortion, and euthanasia — all of which manipulate or discard the body. It causes persons to be profoundly disaffected from themselves, leading to unrealistic expectations, stress, self-mutilation and even suicide. It leads to all these ills and more because it misunderstands what it means to be a man or a woman with a vocation to love rooted in our bodily nature as human persons.
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The philosophical dualism which defines the person in terms of his consciousness, while defining the body as an instrument to be manipulated, lies at the heart of what is called “the new morality”. Those old enough to recall the rapid moral shift which took place beginning in the 1960’s will also recall that the thirst to embrace the new morality was driven primarily by sexual desire; the new morality was, in effect, a rationalization for sexual licentiousness (generally called “liberation”). This same effort to rationalize has rather obviously been the engine of nearly all non-orthodox moral theology over the past two generations, just as it has been the cause of most of the rejection of Church authority—and indeed of many of the scandals that have weakened that authority—during the same period.