OBy Kyle Burgess ‘17
On Monday, October 26, six hundred members of Chaminade High School’s Sodality gathered in Darby Auditorium with much anticipation for the afternoon’s guest speaker. The members in attendance were eager to hear the message that this speaker would bring and how it related to what they were discussing in their weekly meetings. Brother Peter Heiskell, S.M. ’86 began the assembly by introducing guest of honor Nathan Maurer of the Culture Project International.
The Culture Project International began as a group of friends concerned over the morals that secular culture was teaching to younger generations. This group of friends shared a similar vision that love is humanizing, and they sought to promote human life and an authentic vision of the human person according to St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. In churches and schools across the country, members of the Culture Project International attempt to counteract the teachings of today’s society with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The mission has received praise from laymen and clergy alike, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who declared that their initiative “…will be a blessing for both the Culture Project and the Church.”
“Men,” he said, “are called to greatness; and the first way to achieving that greatness is treating women with respect.”
Nathan began his talk by addressing the importance of chastity before marriage, especially for teenagers. He explained that in today’s day and age, teenagers are pressured into pushing the boundaries of a relationship far too quickly. Using his experiences as an example, Nathan spoke of how he and his girlfriend use “gentle signs of affection” towards each other to demonstrate their love. Activities that would cause them to go further in their relationship could provoke him to give in to his desires and therefore lose respect for his girlfriend as a human being.
From his relationship experience, Nathan was able to elaborate on how men far too often forget that women share in the same grace that God has given us. “Men,” he said, “are called to greatness; and the first way to achieving that greatness is treating women with respect.” Once men begin to view women as objects instead of humans, they are ignoring the dignity that God granted to them. Nathan also brought up the issue of pornography in today’s society and how it causes men to lust over women by treating them as objects. The assembly concluded with Nathan urging the Sodality members to stay true to their faith despite societal influences and to respect the sexual integrity of others.
“It can be as simple as paying attention to the humans sitting at your dinner table instead of the humans on the screen of your phone,” Nathan said. “Respecting human life does not have to be as large as joining a pro-life march, but it still helps you to recognize family and friends as fellow human beings.”
Nathan and a colleague from The Culture Project then went on to give a similar speech to Chaminade Catholic League members about human integrity, and a wide array of topics from abortion to human trafficking and even how to demonstrate integrity in a practical way.
The talks that Nathan gave this past Monday truly resonated with many Sodality members. “I’ve learned that relationships can be dangerous both inside and outside of marriage as it is very easy to be in them for yourself,” said John-Luke Hoonhout ’17. “Being selfish in a relationship is not truly loving the other person.”
In addition, faculty members who attended the assemblies were impressed by the impression Nathan left on the students. Brother Peter Heiskell recalled that “Nathan’s words were a fresh voice of what’s absent from our culture today. His was a true and faithful voice of how young men should truly live their lives in today’s generation.”