Why Don’t Catholics Talk About Nudism?

Note: In this post I’m going to be mentioning specific people. I’m doing this for no other reason than that I can’t say what I want to say without getting into specifics. I’m not trying to start a fight or attack anyone. What I’m simply trying to do is call attention to an issue — nudism — that I think Catholics have a duty to be paying attention to.

On May 7th it was World Naked Gardening Day.

“World Naked Gardening Day” was at the top of the “Trending” list on Facebook. (At least, for me it was.)

And yet the response from prominent Catholic public speakers and bloggers I follow — who write about and talk about subjects like God’s plan for the body, modesty, and the evils of objectification: Subjects that go hand-in-hand with nudism — was nothing.*

Why?

Here was a golden opportunity to start dialogue with people who live life clothes-free.

Why are Catholics, it seems, afraid to acknowledge the fact that people who go naked exist.

Now: I’m just one, imperfect person. There’s only so much I can do. There’s only so much I can take. I’m not all-knowing. I’m not all-powerful. My Catholic faith gives me morals and values to live by. What my Catholic faith doesn’t give me is, in the words of Chancellor Palpatine:

Star Wars4

My point is: I understand why there are Catholics who don’t talk about subjects like nudism: Because they’ve already found their niche. They’re already talking about subjects like the dangers of pornography, or the importance of modesty.

That being said: I don’t think that Jesus wanted us Catholics to slot ourselves into a particular niche and go “I’m not going to talk about anything else.”

My thoughts on nudism are just that: Thoughts. They are 1) Subject to change as I learn more about the teachings of my Catholic faith, and 2) Are what I currently believe to be true about nudism.

I’ve talked about, and will continue to talk about, a lot of subjects on this blog. (I just write down whatever is on my mind at the moment — whatever I feel I have to get out of my head and into writing.) I can’t talk about everything, though. For one reason or another. But what is important is that I try anyway. Why? Because that’s what I think my duty as a Catholic is:

Matthew 5:13 — 16:

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

*The Catholic public speakers and blogs I follow, and examples of their work, are:

Christopher West:
Healing Perfectionism and Getting Naked Before God

Jason Evert/The Chastity Project:
Revealing Intimacy

Matt Fradd:
Should a Christian Woman Wear a Bikini?

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3 thoughts on “Why Don’t Catholics Talk About Nudism?

  1. Hello,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog since soon after you started it. As a Catholic and one who is comfortable going around without clothes at home (or occasionally to a beach or resort), I have found it very refreshing to read about someone else’s intellectual approach to this subject. (As far as the other topics you post about, though, I love good stories, but I don’t know much about Anime; also, I haven’t seen either of the “God’s Not Dead” movies.)

    I agree with you that the topics of God’s plan for the body and objectification are points of contact between the Church’s anthropology, moral theology, and JPII’s Theology of the Body. But I wonder if clothes are just so much a given in people’s minds that to conceptualize life without them, even as a thought experiment (“how might we act differently if…”, “would the incidence of sexually immoral acts be reduced if…”, “would body shame or even dysmorphia be reduced if…”), may not even occur to them. It also may be that they don’t even know about “World Naked Gardening Day” (I know I didn’t until I started following naturist/nudist blogs). Or perhaps it feels a bit too “New-Age”y for them, with all the yoga and such that are so often packaged together with nudism. But I would bring it up to them, or even call in to a show like Catholic Answers Live and have a discussion.

    I’m making these suggestions, but I should just do it myself. But, admittedly, it is hard to talk about with others, and especially for me, it is difficult to even enjoy time outside unclothed. This is because I am a priest. As a Catholic community in North America, we’re still reeling from the sexual abuse scandal, and although I know that there is nothing inherently sexual about not wearing clothes, and that I take my vow of celibacy very seriously, there’s always a fear of being misperceived, especially by our hyper-sexualized culture. I don’t know how to bring up the topic, with family or parishioners (I have two friends and my spiritual director who know that I do this). As an associate pastor in a rural area, it would be rather odd to bring up the subject in a homily, in mixed company.

    But if you would like to talk at all, send me an e-mail.

    1. When it comes to communicating with people who comment on my blog, I prefer to talk in the comment section of whatever post they commented on. It’s just my personal preference.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts on, and experience with, the subject of nudism.

      I’m glad to know that you like my writing, and have been reading it for a while.

      When it comes to the subject of nudism, though I myself am not a nudist I feel like the subject is important because I don’t want to see nudists be swept under the rug by the Church, which is what I feel has happened. Hardly any Catholics ever talk about nudism, it seems, if they even know such a thing exists.

      The times that I’ve emailed Catholic publications, or asked prominent Catholic speakers on their social media pages, to address the subject of nudism, I’ve gotten no response, too.

      I get the impression that Catholics are afraid to talk about nudism. Which, to me, isn’t right. As Catholics, it is our duty to talk about what no one else wants to talk about — to go where no one goes. We can’t ignore the reality that people who go naked exist just because it might seem weird or New Age-y. When we stand in front of God at the end of our lives, we will have to answer for the times where we ignored others.

      When it comes to talking to people about your choice to go naked, I would say don’t think of that conversation as one you have to have.

      If the subject of nudism ever comes up in your discussions with people, or if during a discussion you think it’s a good time to bring up nudism, than it could be God telling you “It’s time to talk about this.”

      Until that time comes, pray that God will give you the words to say when it does — that through your experience going naked, and through how you communicate to other people how that experience feels, you will draw peoples’ souls closer to God.

      Nudism is, obviously, a thing that exists.
      Obviously, there are people who enjoy going naked.
      God has allowed this to happen for a reason.
      Everything on Earth, in one way or another, proclaims His glory since all things, ultimately, come from Him.
      My point is: I think God is using nudism — using peoples’ desire to be naked — for His greater glory.

      For example: From talking with people on this blog, I’ve heard of how going naked helped people to see their fellow human beings as more human, not less — nudity didn’t lead to objectification — and I’ve heard of how going naked has helped people get over body image issues, and trauma, that they had been suffering from.

      Thank you again for commenting.

    2. Lately I’ve been thinking more about your comment you wrote me days ago.

      I pray that what I said in my reply to you helped you, and I will pray for you.

      Regarding how to tell people that you like going naked:

      I recommend keeping a journal: having a place where you can write down what being naked means to you. The reason why I recommend this is because nobody likes keeping thoughts and feelings bottled up. A journal will give you chance to say privately what you aren’t ready to say publicly.

      Other than that, I have to admit I don’t know what to say except: Pray that God will give you the strength to say what He wants you to say about being naked, when you feel He wants you to say it.

      I’m always here if you need someone to talk to about anything. I do my best to help people.

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