Monday, January 31, 2011

Let's Talk About Sex

Homily to Ritter students about sex!


  1. Fr. Hollowell,

    I love your blog! Because of things like this. Thanks for sharing this excellent and informative homily. I, too, wish I could have heard this kind of thing when I was in high school. You serve those kids well.


  2. This article is unrelated to this post, but I thought you might be interested...

  3. Fr. John -

    This is an excellent homily and one that should also be brought to the pulpit on Sundays. We have so many young people that need to hear this message as well as older, married people that need to hear it as well. Thank you.

  4. Fr. John-

    I had the privilege to hear your homily in person yesterday at St. Michael's. In my 41 years, it was one of the best homilies, if not the best, that I have ever heard. I have shared the link to your blog with my Catholic and non-Catholic friends, so they, too, can hear first-hand your homily on sex. What a gift you are to the all of the families of Cardinal Ritter...our children (and adults) are very blessed to have a spiritual mentor with your conviction. Thank you for sharing your gifts from God with all of us, and know that your words will no doubt influence many. Thank you.

  5. As a brother Priest I encourage you! Thanks for what you offer to our young people!

  6. I just watched the video and I must say-You are on fire-on fire with the Holy Spirit. First your pro-life homily at St. Malachy and now this. We have been waiting for a homilist like you. Everyone needs to hear this--you are saving souls. It takes great courage and holiness to speak these truths. Thank you and may the Holy Spirit continue to be with you.

  7. Father,
    As a Mom of a freshman at Ritter, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is the message all teenagers need to be hearing and especially at a Catholic HS. Your presence and moral leadership at Ritter makes the tuition we pay worth ever dime. Keep beginning our kids the Truth. God Bless.

  8. Are we the richest people to ever live? Perhaps, depending on how you want to spin "rich" semantically. While we may be the richest you fail to acknowledge that we are the least self-sufficient. We rely on employment outside the home to provide food, shelter, and clothing for our families. We are no longer an agriculturally based society that grows our own food, builds our own homes and makes our own clothing.

    Over the past 40 years the socioeconomic distribution of our poor, middle-class and wealthy citizens has become less of a bell curve and more parabolic. It is simply impractical for most in modern society to have 10+ children. The cost of nearly everything in the United States has risen over the past 30 years at a rate far outpacing inflation (i.e. college tuition) while the wage of the average worker has not even remotely kept pace. The number of homes in which both parents work has risen 300+% since the 1960s. Why? Because one income source is no longer adequate to provide a comfortable lifestyle for the typical American family. Yet the church continues to steadfastly adhere to its archaic teachings on contraception endorsing the "rhythm method"--a technique proven to be unreliable--as its only approved vehicle of birth control.

    This is but one of many reasons why the Church is failing to keep its members around as they grow into adulthood. It is out of touch with modern society and refuses to acknowledge the challenges that parents face to simply provide the essentials for their children. Is it possible to raise ten or more children in modern society without wealth? Sure it is, but it requires drastic lifestyle sacrifices and adaptation that most simply are unable to make. This is why the Church continues to hemorrhage members. The numbers may have steadied due to the tremendous increase in the US Hispanic population (the parish I grew up in now has several masses conducted only in Spanish), but it continues to lose most of its US-born non-Hispanic members as they enter adulthood. Until the church is willing to make some sort of adjustment and acknowledgment that its teaching on sexuality and other matters are impractical then this pattern will continue.

    J.Maxwell Roncalli '98

  9. Maxwell,

    The % of our income spent on food is the lowest in the history of the world, per the documentary Food Inc. - a film certainly not produced by friends of the Church. Do you seriously claim that it would be easier to GROW food for 10 kids than it would be to go to the store and spend 20-30% of your income on food?

    Of course it requires drastic lifestyle changes - it always has - those drastic lifestyle changes are what some people call "growing up". Of course the Church is hemorrhaging members in our society because it "is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God." To people who have a lot of stuff, having another kid seems as difficult as passing through the eye of needle, specifically because the eye of a needle will squeeze them and force them to contort themselves and adjust their lifestyle to fit through.

    We are the richest society of all time. A Bach symphony costs 99 cents, whereas kings would have paid millions for that years ago. In the United States people will train your kids how to read for free. I agree college is expensive, but you know how my parents got around that - "Children, you are all paying for college on your own." We've all been fine. The idea that parents feel they MUST pay for their kids college tuition baffles me. The college system itself, according to most experts, in on the verge of crashing. It has been artificially supported by our government, and now that the price has swollen so rediculously high, many predict that it will soon collapse. Kids are already finding ways around for much cheaper.

    You are right about one thing - the ONLY reason our population isn't doing what Europe is is because of our Hispanic influx, who are, you guessed it, 99% Catholic AND POOR, so they get the idea that they can have children and still survive - no lifestyle change needed because they are already poor.

    I'll say this again, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this - EUROPE IS NOT REPLACING ITSELF, AND AS RICH WHITE SOCIETY, WE AREN'T DOING IT IN THE U.S. EITHER - and this is the first time this has ever happened in the history of the world.

  10. Thank you Father for speaking on this topic. My husband and I have been married for nearly 10 years. Our children are 5,3 and 1. In the past year we have chosen to stop using artificial contraception and to become an NFP couple. We attended 9 hours of training through the Couple to Couple League. This has been an amazing decision for our marriage. It does work! It is not the rhythm method! (As stated by previous commenter) As a culture many of us think that anyone should be able to have sex whenever we want with whoever we want, Others think that they they are more refined and believe that married people can or should be able to have sex whenever they want. I believe that we are all called to chastity. Abstinence from sex is a part of life for everyone. We are called to abstain from sex until marriage, but we may also be called to abstain from sex in marriage in order to respect the dignity of our spouse. Despite the clear teachings on this from the church, this is not a topic that is frequently discussed openly. I thank you Father for doing this and pray that we can bring the teachings of Theology of the Body to all Cathlolics and a return to chastity.

    Laura Buening

  11. Laura,
    Kudos to you and your family. Welcome to the world of serious Catholicism. Thanks for having the courage to tell your story and use your name. Hopefully others will read this and be moved.

  12. I forgot to point that out in my response, but as Laura notes, NFP (natural family planning) is the method prescribed by the Church, not the rhythm method, and it has been shown to be effective in the range of 99% - way higher than contraception. Here some say "what's the difference?" If NFP prevents pregnancy and contraception prevents pregnancy, who cares which method people use? To that I would say "well, if there is no difference, then you would have no problem doing NFP." The fact is that NFP is as different from contraception as bellimia is different from fasting.

  13. Father, once you put your sex education curriculum together, please make sure you make it available to those of us who have our children in the public education system so that we may benefit as well. Many thanx!!!

  14. Wow Father Hallowell!! Very well done! A much needed talk on sexuality! I hope and pray that your homily has an enormous ripple effect in our society. I have a good feeling it will.


    Siobhann Allstott

  15. Great homily! I only disagree with the birth control talk. I was taught by a priest the history of the church against contraception. He said that during the period of debate, the most advanced scientific view about conception was that the entire human form was present within the sperm. The woman was only the nest or oven. Therefore it was evil or a sin to not "plant" the sperm properly as you were basically killing a human being by not doing so. We of course know this isn't the case. But since the church doesn't like to change and uses things for certain agendas it is still considered evil. If the goal of NFP is to "plan" your family, i.e not have too many children, then what is the difference with some of the other basic forms of contraception. If God wants a baby to be born, he will just make whatever method not work- we can't stop that.

  16. Anonymous,

    I run into people all the time who say "have you ever heard of Fr. so and so?" This question is quickly followed by "he taught me..." which is usually against Church teaching.

    The irony here is this - people are citing one priest and holding that priest's understanding and knowledge against 2,000 years of priests and lay faithful. How many priests and lay people and theologians have shot down the idea of contraception over the years but yet those who want to can point to their one priest who is more credible than the Church.

    I'd caution against citing one priest over the 2,000 year wisdom of the Church, especially when that one priest derives his credibility and authority from the Church he is teaching against.

    As to NFP and contraception, if they are the same then there shouldn't be a problem living out NFP.

    The Church teaches that the problem with contraception is that it is dualistic, that is it separates the "bodily" from the "spiritual" component of man. The Church fights this monster in all of the many ways it crops up - the most grave manifestation of this heresy being contraception. Contraception is dualistic in that it purports to offer couples an opportunity at "spiritual" bonding while preventing the "bodily" union from fully taking place because contraception interrupts that process. Plus, if the contraception is the pill, there is the added problem that it can cause an abortion to take place by preventing implantation of the embryo.

    That is the basis of the Church's teaching, not a pre-scientific revolution understanding of fertilization.

  17. Father, this is excellent! Thank you so much!! Keep spreading the truth and the light. :)

    You are so right about contraception, and about our generation never hearing this stuff! BINGO! You might like my reversion story. :)

  18. Fr. Hollowell's proselytizing on sexuality is quite dangerous. Rather than saving souls, he puts them in jeopardy, particularly his views on homosexuality.

    We don't GO to Church, the people ARE the Church. He dares to cite the "2,000 year wisdom of the Church," a wisdom that also has endorsed slavery (which the Bible condones); the subordination of women; the persecution of non-Catholics; and the profound sexual abuses by these 'wise men' in positions of power.

    If Fr. Hollowell wants to preserve marriage and promote "Biblical" teachings, he should preach to even more sheep, advocating against onanism, of premarital sex, of divorce, better explain annulment, and educate more on gluttony and greed. We can see then how many people are listening to HIS interpretation of the Word (because priests are not the arbiters. Ask about Informed Conscience...)

  19. Father Holloway:

    Having just seen your video teaching students, I do applaud you fo trying to instill values in them.

    Having said that, it is odd to see you speak so vehemently about the unflexibility of the bible's interpretation of homosexuality, and then become so flexible to re-interpretation when confronted with the other hard stances that the bible takes ( "They (shellfish) shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination." & "If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has discovered her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from her people." etc.
    After having you seen you state unequivocably that there is NO ROOM for interpretation in the bible, how is it that you are so comfortable stating to students " Yes, while the bible DOES call for death, IT is to be ignored as Jesus showed us" ? Don't you think that YOU are now re-interpreting the bible to suit your own agenda?

  20. Bravo, Anonymous! Christians parse the Bible every day...the most repeated "sin" in the first few books of the Bible is working on the Sabbath...a man is even caught picking up sticks for a fire, brought to Moses (who asks God what to do), and then, at God's direction, is taken outside town and stoned to death. And yet, no one is stoning good Christian WalMart employees on Sunday. But, OH NO!, some men have sex with men! OH NO!!

  21. But, OH NO!, some men have sex with men! OH NO!!

    It won't be long before the mock cry is, "OH!, Some men have sex with children! OH NO!"

    In any case the God-hates-shellfish argument in favor of homosexuality is a flop. It is a flop because it fails to recognize that there are three kinds of laws in the Old Testament--laws governing moral behavior, ceremonial laws, and cultural laws. The latter are largely fulfilled and/or superceded by Christ. The moral laws however are permanantly valid. The second problem is that the GHS argument presupposes Sola Scriptura, which isn't a Catholic belief. Homosexual's wrongness can be demonstrated from Scripture, Sacred Tradition, constant teaching of the Church, reason, history, and intuition.

  22. That should read "Homosexuality's" in that last sentence.

  23. Re: J.Maxwell Roncalli '98
    I agree that the ' "rhythm method"--[is] a technique proven to be unreliable-". That is why the Catholic Church does not promote it since the 1950s. There are 3 main scientifically proven methods that the Church promotes for NFP: the Symptothermal-, Billings- , and the Creighton-method. Feel free to google about them (for ex. visit The efficiency of these methods are 99%. You can find reliable and recent scientific research backing this efficiency at
    God bless you,

    Antonio Macias, PhD (yes, a Catholic of hispanic descent and a certified NFP teacher)