June 14th, 2012We Need Grown-Ups Not “Adults”by Joseph Pearce

As a follow-up to my musing about Orwellian doublethink and newspeak yesterday, I'd like to vent on the adulteration of adulthood by the language-debasers.

If we take the meaning of "adult" to mean "grown-up" or "mature" we can state categorically that there is nothing adult about "adult" bookstores, or "adult" movies. Pornography is not grown-up; it is adolescent. It shows a lack of maturity, an unwillingness to grow in virtue and to struggle against concupiscence.

It is interesting to note that the word "adult" has its roots in the Latin adolescere, to "grow-up", which is also where we get the word "adolescent". In this sense, the language-debasers have tradition on their side. The point, however, is that an adolescent is in the process of growing-up whereas an adult is a grown-up. There is nothing wrong with an adolescent being adolescent but there really is something pathetic about an adult being an adolescent. The first is merely passing through a transient phase en route to adulthood; the second is refusing to grow-up and wishing to remain immature. The second is a refusal to be an adult. Only those who refuse to be adults visit "adult" bookstores or watch "adult" movies.

While we're enjoying an adult conversation about adulthood, we should note that "adultery" has nothing whatsoever to do with being an adult, even etymologically. The word "adultery" has its roots in the Latin adulterare, from which we get the word "adulterate". Adultery is the adulteration of marriage by adolescents who refuse to be adults.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love - not the "love" on offer at "adult" bookstores but the real self-sacrificial love which lays down its life for its friends. What the world needs now is the truly adult love which is fulfilled in true marriage and the parenthood which is its purpose. The best way of becoming a grown-up is to become a parent in a real marriage between a man and wife who will sacrifice themselves for each other and for their children. What the world needs now is grown-ups not fake "adults".

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  • June 14 2012 | by Lynne Viverito

    I am reading some articles by Madeleine L'Engle and in one she sadly reports that a friend advised her not to call her non-young adult books Adult, that adult now meant pornographic. She was sad and dismayed to learn this. As many good writers, Madeleine had a childhood she was very happy to out grow, and being an adult was much better. Today there seems to be even more of us who have no idea what being an adult means.