How to Reconcile Opinion on Sex&Faith


#1

I'm a Catholic, but I can't deny that I can't see eye-to-eye with the Church on a couple of things, and one of those things is sex.

Since I've learned the Church's stance on sex, I couldn't help but be opposed.
Why should we avoid sex until marriage the way the Church advises us to?

  • Marriage was done more out of financial reasons, and because of this, families married off their children at younger ages to reap the benefits.

  • These new brides and grooms were at an age where they had probably just developed sexually.

  • There was no effective means of birth control at the time aside from chastity, and chastity within a marriage would have been detrimental to one's finances -- no children=more work, and no dowries.

With this in mind, I can't possibly see the immorality in the use of contraceptives, premarital sex (without manipulation), and sex without the desire to produce offspring.

I know that the Church claims infallibility in it's views concerning sex, but what can I do as a Catholic who wants to be sexually active? How can I do this without producing children that I could never support?

Should I leave the Church?


#2

The Moral Dilemma for me here is that I can't see how I can I be a Catholic with my views on sex?


#3

The real moral dilemma you face is what is more important to you and what is more beneficial to you in the long run, sex or salvation?

This statement:

but what can I do as a Catholic who wants to be sexually active? How can I do this without producing children that I could never support?

indicates that you view sex as something for you only, that it’s all about what you get out of it. Lost in the discussion is what the Church teaches about sex and why, the whole discussion about procreation and intimacy, purpose, and the expression of love as opposed to selfish gain.

Consider the case of a person who joined an army, and once in it decided they really didn’t like wearing a helmet. It’s really heavy, it makes your head sweat, it’s bulky, and it would a lot easier for that person to just do without it because they liked the freedom of head movement not wearing it offers. The army would teach that the helmet has a purpose; it’s there for protection and to give you a better chance at long-term survival when chunks of metal are flying around at high speed. It also helps keep you concealed in some circumstances.

Does it make sense to you for that person to disregard the teachings about the helmet, to ignore the history of how living in accord with what is taught about the helmet has actually helped individuals remain safe from danger? Or does it make more sense for the person to just stay on the same battlefield and renounce being in the army in order to face the same danger in the way they desire to? Would the person really benefit at all, being that the danger is the same whether they are in or out of the army?

The other thing to consider is that contraception, which it sounds like you would otherwise rely on, is not always 100% effective. You might not want to conceive a child in the course of sexual adventure, but you just might anyway. What then? If you aren’t prepared to support a child resulting from the act, knowing it’s possible, then why would you be so anxious to engage in it?

I don’t think you should leave the Church. I think you should pray about this and try to come to a greater understanding and acceptance of why those teachings are in place.


#4

I would suggest some resources for you:

Jason Evert, just click on the chastity link above
Theology of the Body books
www.sexrespect.com
www.familyhonor.org - this organization has programs to attend - mostly in the south, but some also in NW Pennsylvania.

I don’t know how old you are - some (most) of these resources are aimed at teens.


#5

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
I'm a Catholic, but I can't deny that I can't see eye-to-eye with the Church on a couple of things, and one of those things is sex.

Since I've learned the Church's stance on sex, I couldn't help but be opposed.
Why should we avoid sex until marriage the way the Church advises us to?

  • Marriage was done more out of financial reasons, and because of this, families married off their children at younger ages to reap the benefits.

  • These new brides and grooms were at an age where they had probably just developed sexually.

  • There was no effective means of birth control at the time aside from chastity, and chastity within a marriage would have been detrimental to one's finances -- no children=more work, and no dowries.

With this in mind, I can't possibly see the immorality in the use of contraceptives, premarital sex (without manipulation), and sex without the desire to produce offspring.

I know that the Church claims infallibility in it's views concerning sex, but what can I do as a Catholic who wants to be sexually active? How can I do this without producing children that I could never support?

Should I leave the Church?

[/quote]

No, don't leave the Church!

First the Church only claims infallibility for things like Eucharist, the Virginal Birth of Christ, the Immaculate Conception. The rest are "official teachings," which are also to be obeyed and honored.

Having said that....... all those reasons you listed above for disagreement? You wrote in past tense. That was then, this is NOW. Guidelines evolve. Your best bet is to have a few meetings with a priest, deacon, or better yet a Catholics Come Home meeting and air your complaints and frustration. Then, have an open mind to Church teachings.

I have said in other posts that it is my experience that full acceptance of church teachings comes with time and struggle for many. Struggle honestly and you are still a Catholic regardless what any other Catholic may tell you. Cop a dismissive, "I know better than the old-fashioned Church" attitude, and don't struggle and you will probably leave eventually. Same is true if you see it all in black and white. "Obey to the letter, or leave."

The fact that you posted this thread is indication that you really don't want to leave the Church. So, I encourage you to have an open mind, struggle, and seek counsel so you can understand what you are struggling against.
Blessings Questioning Catholic! :hug3:


#6

Bit of a correction her, the Church that Jesus founded has His infallibility in all teachings of Faith and Morals.

The OP would be wise to read and study the writings of the Chruch and Scripture, to pray and associate with practicing Catholics - to grow in holiness. To understand that God designed sex for marriage. We wait until Marriage because that is the natural order of things.


#7

I stand corrected. That is right, worded that way. :shrug:
And we say the same thing otherwise: seek counsel. :thumbsup:


#8

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

Saint Augustine

Would you leave Christianity? Where would you go? Discern the above posters' comments and talk to a priest or others who are going tthrough the same struggles as you but see how what the Church teaches makes good spiritual sense. God bless you. You are in my prayers..................teachccd


#9

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
I'm a Catholic, but I can't deny that I can't see eye-to-eye with the Church on a couple of things, and one of those things is sex.

Since I've learned the Church's stance on sex, I couldn't help but be opposed.
Why should we avoid sex until marriage the way the Church advises us to?

  • Marriage was done more out of financial reasons, and because of this, families married off their children at younger ages to reap the benefits.

[/quote]

This is not correct, this is why you had big families, this is not why people got married! People got married because you wanted to have a family at all to begin with! And certainly in Jedeo-Christian culture it was never permissible to go starting a family unmarried, there were always negitive consequences.

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]

  • These new brides and grooms were at an age where they had probably just developed sexually.

[/quote]

Are you talking historically? Your complaint about no sex before marriage is because people used to marry younger? I'm sorry but this is a really bizzar argument to make, culture has evolved, people no longer mature as fast (mentally) as they used to. Back in those days, you were required to be an adult fully capable of caring for your self by 13, how many 13 year olds are out there striking out on their own starting their own families in a completely legitimate manner today? Times have changed, 13 year olds are childeren today.

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]

  • There was no effective means of birth control at the time aside from chastity, and chastity within a marriage would have been detrimental to one's finances -- no children=more work, and no dowries.

[/quote]

I assume of course you are talking about married life, as sex before marriage is not permissiable. I'd suggest you look up NFP, or Natural Family Planning. It's every bit as effective, when effectivly done as any artifical means. But it leaves you open, always to God which is what you want. A fully sacramental marriage, truely open to God. This is how you find true happiness.

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]

With this in mind, I can't possibly see the immorality in the use of contraceptives, premarital sex (without manipulation), and sex without the desire to produce offspring.

[/quote]

They are intrinsically evil, for starters they remove the sacramentality of sex. It makes sex a selfish act, all about what you can get out of it. The very first effect of this is that it makes your relationship centered around sex. No longer are people together becaue they love one another, and they want to support one another, and become one flesh, truely through the bareing of childeren. Rather, people want to be together because the sex is FANTASTIC! But there's a proble, later in life the sex gets to be not so good. You get bored with it, you want to find something new. So what do you do? Well you divorce! So you see skyrocketing divorce figures, and wow look at that! Almost half (if not more) of all marriages end this way!

Next, well now that sex is really just all about pleasure, this leads us to what you opened up with. Heck, sex is all about me anyway, why wait till I'm even married! I'll start getting my kicks in now! In fact this is a brilliant idea, since relationships are all about sex anyway this is a terrific way to "kick the tires" before making a commitment! Well there's a problem here too! This leads to so called "unwanted pregnacies"! You get busy kicking the tires with someone new, all of the sudden you realize you forgot the ABC (on no!) and well, the logical end is that you have a baby!

So now the woman is pregant, now you have to make a choice! First, you "do the right thing", get married to her whether or not you're actually compatible in any way other than sexually and quite possibly end up in a miserable marraige! That leads to the D word of course! That's a best case senario though really, because the other option is that you say "whoa!!! I don't want no kids, I was just having some fun". So you ditch this poor girl, and now she has a choice!
1) Adoption - But no one really wants to do this because "it will be too hard to give up the child"
so then theres
2) Keep the kid, and now we have a single mom, probably on wealfare sucking your tax dollars down (opps, I thought you were trying to avoid the financial consequences of that kid) or more directly, garnishing your wages directly with child support payments (whoops, damn). And of course, regardless this kid suffers because it's growing up with a single parent who doesn't have enough time for it.
3) Abortion: Sacraficing your childern on the alter of convinence. An act so disgusting that even pagans who practiced child sacrafice would be appauled, they sacraficed their childeren because they viewed them as the most valuble thing you could offer their God! We're doing it because the kid is little more than a nusance, kill it! Get rid of it! I dont' want it!

All this, because you wanted condoms!

End Part 1


#10

Begin Part 2

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]

I know that the Church claims infallibility in it's views concerning sex, but what can I do as a Catholic who wants to be sexually active? How can I do this without producing children that I could never support?

Should I leave the Church?

[/quote]

The Catholic Church claims infallibility in all matters of faith and morals. I would suggest you study, and listen to church teachings rather than leave. I can assure you, the Church does not idlely come by their teachings, there is a lot of effort that goes into this. I would also suggest to you that God doesn't change how he judges you based upon which church or faith you're in. You've learned the truth, full truth and nothing but the truth from the Catholic Church already. While I can't make any judgments my self for obvious reasons (I'm not God), at least in my mind turning my back on the truth I know couldn't possibly bode well for my efforts to enter eternal life. That just isn't a chance I'm willing to take with my soul.


#11

By the way, I didn’t even get to STDs in my posting about how evil ABC is.


#12

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
I'm a Catholic, but I can't deny that I can't see eye-to-eye with the Church on a couple of things, and one of those things is sex.

Since I've learned the Church's stance on sex, I couldn't help but be opposed.
Why should we avoid sex until marriage the way the Church advises us to?

[/quote]

We should avoid sex until marriage because that is what it was intended for. God created sex to unite a husband and wife in a renewal of their wedding vows. Giving of ourself to our spouse as Christ gave of Himself for His bride, the Church. God also created sex for procreation, to bring forth new life. This is to be done in a committed marriage as it was intended. As I mentioned, it is a renewal of your wedding vows to you spouse. If you are not married, there are no vows to renew.

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
- Marriage was done more out of financial reasons, and because of this, families married off their children at younger ages to reap the benefits.

[/quote]

Call me a traditionalist, but I for one believe that marriage is not "done out of financial reasons." A marriage is the joining of two lives, along with God, to love honor and cherish someone for the rest of your life in a faithful, loving, committed relationship. What about love? Do we not marry for love? Do we not marry to unite outselves with our spouse and help to get them to heaven? Do we not marry for children? When did families start "marrying off their children at younger ages?" And what exactly are the benefits of this?

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
- - These new brides and grooms were at an age where they had probably just developed sexually.

[/quote]

What?

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
- There was no effective means of birth control at the time aside from chastity, and chastity within a marriage would have been detrimental to one's finances -- no children=more work, and no dowries.

[/quote]

Have you heard of Natural Family Planning (NFP)? Just as effective as any forms of artificial birth control, actually more effective and there are no side effects. In actuality, it is beneficial for the husband and wife. Lower divorce rate, no chemicals, no side effects, increased communication, increased intimacy, increased respect, the list goes on and on. With NFP, the couple can determine with just reason to avoid a pregnancy or if they are willing to open themselves up to children, they can do so. Thusfar for my wife and I it has worked perfectly.

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
- With this in mind, I can't possibly see the immorality in the use of contraceptives, premarital sex (without manipulation), and sex without the desire to produce offspring.

[/quote]

You should read the Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II or any of the supporting works by Christopher West.

[quote="Questionful, post:1, topic:177476"]
- I know that the Church claims infallibility in it's views concerning sex, but what can I do as a Catholic who wants to be sexually active? How can I do this without producing children that I could never support?

Should I leave the Church?

[/quote]

I think that you should take some time to research why the Church holds the stance that she does in relation to sex. Theology of the Body is a great place to start. I can understand where you are coming from as can many others on this site. I was at that point before in my life. I did not want the Catholic Church of all people to tell me what I could and could not do sexually as a single or a married person. I want to tell you that once I discovered the Theology of the Body and dove into these teachings, I came to a full understanding of the beauty of the teachings and realize that they actually made sense! I believed them completely and they have greatly enriched my marriage. Sex is not about what I can get from my wife. It is about the intimacy and the beauty of our marriage that my wife and I share at that special time. It is a blessed encounter, it is not something that is dirty or wrong, it is beautiful. Scott Hahn said it best, "Sex is not good, Campbells soup is Mmmm Mmmm Good, Sex is not great, Frosted Flakes are GRRRReat, Sex is holy."


#13

But you will face additional moral dilemmas in the future.

There is no perfect means of birth control. If you routinely have non-marital sex, a child will eventually be conceived. Your moral dilemma then will be, what to do with this child.

–kill it through abortion?
–give it up for adoption?
–marry the child’s mother so that the child can have full time mom and dad?
–let the mother raise the child and perhaps provide some child support?

The child, after all, will be the innocent party in all this.

If you are a man, your input into the above choices will be very limited indeed. But the moral dilemma remains.


#14

Thank you everyone for your responses to my questions. I’ve come to terms with my selfishness, and would like to ask a couple other questions.

I’ve read a summary of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, that said he recommended/advocated the use of NFP as a means of birth control. So then what is the Church’s true position on sexual activity within a marriage? More importantly, can one implement NFP without feeling guilt? I can see how NFP can be implemented as a way to avoid pregnancy, and still create an environment where love and union between a married lover can be expressed - but does it conform with Catholicism’s view of sex?

Also, what should I think of the Winnipeg Statement?


#15

Sex within marriage should be unitive, uniting the husband and wife in a renewal of their wedding vows, giving of themselves totally, freely and faithfully.

It should also be procreative, fruitful, open to life.

Of course it can, that is why the Church accepts NFP. Read, The Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West.


#16

[quote="Questionful, post:14, topic:177476"]
Thank you everyone for your responses to my questions. I've come to terms with my selfishness, and would like to ask a couple other questions.

I've read a summary of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, that said he recommended/advocated the use of NFP as a means of birth control. So then what is the Church's true position on sexual activity within a marriage? More importantly, can one implement NFP without feeling guilt? I can see how NFP can be implemented as a way to avoid pregnancy, and still create an environment where love and union between a married lover can be expressed - but does it conform with Catholicism's view of sex?

Also, what should I think of the Winnipeg Statement?

[/quote]

Like much of the immediate reaction to Humanae Vitae, the Winnipeg Statement was misguided, and has caused much damage to the Church in Canada. Some have called it a tragedy and petitioned for its retraction. Here is an article.


#17

How many Catholics would give up sex for the Church, not many I think, Yrs ago people did sacrifice for the Church, but not today. People want to make no sacrifice for their religion


#18

But unless one is called to be celibate, God does not require us to give up sex for the sake of the Church. He only commands that it be used properly within the context of marriage, ruling out adultery and fornication.


#19

Waiting before marriage actually gives greater dignity to the people involved, to marriage, and to sex. I think that having sex outside of marriage cheapens it, because the union is not blessed by God (marriage is a Sacrament, not just a legal contract, at least in the Church) and also because it ignores the spiritual reality.... it's not just a physical act, but a spiritual self giving as well, and creates a lasting spiritual bond between people - so it should be done when there's already that level of commitment in a relationship (commitment till death - marriage.)

I suggest maybe going on a talk about Theology of the Body or reading the Church documents... this is not just a rule, but is there for a reason. I think the world has lessened love to lust and sex to just a casual physical act, but that's not what it is.

Here's a good article that helped me :)
insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=244&Itemid=48

God bless


#20

the main point in this teaching is that sex is an occasion for a husband and wife to give themselves to one another in love, and from their love, cooperate with God in creating a new life. Self gift and a new life - are key. The world sees sex as a selfish pleasure thing and if an ‘unwanted’ life comes out of it, it’s destroyed.

the reason the Church accepts NFP is because in that case, the couple is not doing anything that might lead to a baby. But if they are, they should be open to life because that’s what sex is for and that’s how it is in God’s plan. Even if the couple doesn’t want to have a child at the moment, if a child is conceived, that means that God wanted this child…and already created their soul. The problem is when people make themselves to be gods and disobey God’s will, but that only harms us in the end :shrug:

God bless


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