To Cecile Richards, and the rest of those waving the banners of the culture of death:
My name is Joe Gehret, I’m a 20 year old Catholic man in my second year of college seminary, and I have a say. I have a say, and what I want to say is something radically revolutionary and yet something incredibly ancient. I have a say, and what I want to say is “No!”
I say “No! to the culture of death, which has corroded moral well-being of our culture and taught our children lies and led them into sadness. I say “No!” to the culture that has reduced men and women to sexual objects, that has made pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking into billion dollar businesses. I will say “No!” to the culture that told me to have sex outside of marriage, as though it were as ordinary and commonplace as eating, drinking, and breathing. I will say “No!” to a culture that tells my two younger sisters that their value lies in their outward appearance and not in the beauty of their hearts. I will say “No!” to YOUR culture, Cecile.
I am young, so I remember well my upbringing. I remember being a teenager in the locker rooms of high school, and with my peers bragging about how far they went with their girlfriends the weekend before, or fantasizing out loud about what they would do to one of my female classmates. They didn’t speak of respect or dignity for those young women; they spoke of objectification, of reducing them to a mere collection of body parts. This is something that your culture has supported, even praised. Perhaps I am old-fashioned if I say that a woman deserves more than objectification and degradation in the eyes of her male peers, but I believe it.
I went through high school as the odd man out because I remained a virgin and treated my female peers with as much respect and dignity as I possibly could. When I graduated high school, I entered the seminary to study to be a Catholic priest, which as you know, is a vocation of celibacy. And yet, I welcomed it with open arms. Why? Well, among many reasons, I wanted my celibacy to show people that there is something much more beautiful about sexuality than lustful self-gratification. I wanted to show people that the core of sexuality is not about gratifying our own desires, but about freely giving ourselves to the other in a mutual bond of love. My celibacy will allow me to give myself to those I serve in the priesthood one day, as an unreserved act of love.
You see Cecile, it is love that the human heart hungers for, not lust. Lust is cheap, lust is weak, but love is rich and strong. Sex is beautiful when it expresses love, true, passionate, deep, fulfilling Christ-like love. Its more than body, its body and soul, and I refuse to make a mockery of it with contraception, with birth control, with abortion, or with any other demeaning, vulgar, or shallow display of self-seeking lust that you and your organization feed off of.
Cecile Richards, I have a say, and I say enough is enough! I have had it with your organization’s war march against the sanctity of sex, marriage, and the family. I’ve had it with your attempts to stomp on the sacred, both in society and in the influence of government policy, and I make my stand here. I have a say, and I say: “I stand with the Roman Catholic Church for truth, for love, and for the dignity, beauty, and sanctity of sexuality.”