The sexual ethic on offer in our own era should make Catholics particularly skeptical. That ethic regards celibacy as unrealistic while offering porn and sex robots to ease frustrations created by its failure to pair men and women off. It pities Catholic priests as repressed and miserable (some are; in general they are not) even as its own cultural order seeds a vast social experiment in growing old alone. It disdains large families while it fails to reproduce itself. It treats any acknowledgment of male-female differences as reactionary while constructing an architecture of sexual identities whose complexities would daunt a medieval schoolman.
From the Economist, “An entrepreneur brings professional grieving to eastern Congo”:
Deborah Nzigere, a 65-year-old Congolese woman, is nervous when she sits down for her job interview. Her hands are clasped tightly together, her words are slow and deliberate; she is blinking too much. “What inspired you to pursue this career?” asks one of the two people on the interview panel. Her answer is garbled, she mentions money. When asked to give a demonstration, she giggles awkwardly and leaves the room. She comes back in crying.
“Bettina,” she howls and throws herself to the ground. “Bettina, Bettina, why did you leave us?” She thumps the floor with a flattened palm, her body convulses with sobs as she moans and wails. The interviewer’s eyes fill with tears. Mrs Nzigire has got the job.
Through Papa, college-age young people can sign up to help seniors by going to the store, doing housework or just hanging out. For these “pals,” Papa works on the same gig-economy model as Uber or Postmates. Ten hours a week of Papa service is covered for members of Humana ’s Medicare Advantage insurance who are in a pilot program in and near Tampa.
Ms. Sumkin’s Papa pals take her on trips to the store since she can no longer drive, and they also help combat her loneliness. Ms. Sumkin says that, aside from occasional visits with her children and grandchildren, her only regular human contact is a bi-weekly stretching class and time with those insurer-provided friends. “They’re all very nice and, you know, I’ll converse with them and find out what they’re doing and studying and so forth,” she says. “It’s for me a very important service.”