Is kissing a sin?

According to Christian Natural Law, is kissing a sin?

The lips do not appear to have been designed with this purpose in mind. Rather, lips were designed to facilitate food intake.

No, it is not contrary to natural law. The bible endorses kissing: “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16). Of course, that’s one type of kissing and very different from romantic kissing. But to say that kissing is contrary to natural law because mouths are made for eating doesn’t hold.

With regard to romantic kissing, it is when kissing moves beyond a sign of affection to a means of sexual arousal that a line is crossed. Kissing in order to derive or elicit sexual arousal, outside of the context of marriage, comes under the banner of fornication and is sinful if done deliberately.

OK. Why doesn’t it hold?

Because hands hold


As above, because the bible* endorses kissing. Divine revelation through the scriptures trumps our impression of natural law.

  • Read also Song of Songs.

^ We don’t get to wiggle out of it that easily. Divine command does not “trump” the natural law; the natural law is supposed to conform to divine law. If our interpretation of the natural law contradicts the divine law in the area of smoochin’, it is likely that our interpretation of the natural law is fundamentally flawed – with grave implications for Church teaching on sex, contraception, masturbation, and homosexuality.

I will try to post again before I go to bed, offering my understanding of why romantic kissing does conform to the natural law when performed by fitting persons in fitting circumstances.

I’ll stand by what I said - “Divine revelation through the scriptures trumps our impression of natural law”.

It is the *impression *of natural law that I said is trumped; not natural law itself. Natural law indeed conforms to or reflects divine law. My point was merely that kissing cannot be against either divine or natural law as God, through the scriptures, reveals it to be ok.

If you want a case made from the perspective of natural law, we might say the kissing is entirely natural for humans and that it is not considered contrary simply becasue the mouth has other uses (eating, speech). The human genitals have dual uses (urination, procreation), and both are acceptable under natural law. My nose has dual uses too - it allows me to breath (apart from my mouth) and it allows me to understand the world around me via the sense of smell. So the fact that the mouth has another use is not a valid argument against kissing in itself.

I recall back in my Catholic schooldays, kissing was one of those pleasurable pastimes that was classed by the church as “putting oneself in the OCCASION of sin”, I guess that meant putting oneself in temptation. We were supposed to confess it. Spoilsports!:smiley:

I think you’re over simplifying the natural law arguments somewhat in the analogy you’re trying to draw. (I assume you’re trying to draw an analogy to the natural law arguments that homosexual activity, masturbation, or something similar is wrong.)

It may be helpful to examine the sin of gluttony. From Wikipedia:

St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote the following when explaining gluttony:

“Pope Innocent XI Odescalchi has condemned the proposition which asserts that it is not a sin to eat or to drink from the sole motive of satisfying the palate. However, it is not a fault to feel pleasure in eating: for it is, generally speaking, impossible to eat without experiencing the delight which food naturally produces. But it is a defect to eat, like beasts, through the sole motive of sensual gratification, and without any reasonable object. Hence, the most delicious meats may be eaten without sin, if the motive be good and worthy of a rational creature; and, in taking the coarsest food through attachment to pleasure, there may be a fault.”

So grabbing a candy bar when you’re hungry (or even when you’re not particularly hungry, but when whatever food value there is will be put to use) may be fine, depending on motivation etc - but eating to experience the flavor and then inducing vomiting is not fine, because in inducing vomiting you circumvent the purpose of eating entirely.

Likewise, engaging in sexual activities is only a problem when one does so for the pleasure but avoids the purpose entirely. (Notice I haven’t mentioned any body parts yet, it’s more than “the mouth is for eating” etc.) Sex between a man and a women who are already married is fine, because it is ordered towards creating children. Contraceptive sex is not fine because that purpose is consciously circumvented. Homosexual sex is not fine because that purpose is being ignored entirely. Again, no body parts mentioned.

I suppose you could argue that some of those acts aren’t really sex as such, and so aren’t covered by that reasoning. But this would be along the lines of arguing that “eating” a cheeseburger by chewing each mouthful and then spitting it out isn’t really eating. and so isn’t prohibited by the prohibition of gluttony. Gluttony is pursuing pleasure of taste without regards to the purpose of eating, likewise sexual sin is pursuing sexual pleasure without regards to the purpose of sex.

And again, this argument does not need to reference body parts at all.

So: the argument against kissing you provide fails because it’s simply not complete (it happens not to be completable, but it fails because it is not complete). You have not demonstrated that the mouth is not to be used for any purpose that completely ignores eating in the same way that eating is not to be used for any purpose that completely ignores nourishment or that sex is not to be used for any purpose that completely ignores procreation.

Where did you come up with this? On one hand it sounds so legalistic and codified…on the other hand really silly. Is it just an opinion?

The natural law forbids acts which are contrary to the natural end of our faculties. So, first, “lips” aren’t really a faculty, and second, kissing isn’t contrary to the end you imagine lips to have.

It’s just common sense. Passionate kissing arouses the body to sexual desire. So it shouldn’t be used outside of those contexts in which sexual desire is licit, i.e., marriage. So unmarried couples really shouldn’t be kissing passionately. This doesn’t preclude smooching on the lips or anything, but tongues should remain firmly in the mouth and hands where mom and dad can see them. :slight_smile:

I don’t think you understand natural law.

The book 50 Questions on the Natural Law by Rice might be helpful to you.

I think its much to do about nothing. Just goes to show you that “common sense” might not be either common or sensible!:slight_smile: Kinda like saying dating is pushing the line because falling in love leads to sex!

It is not at all like saying that.

First, dating is in fact a near occasion of sin. This is why people who are unable to marry should not date (i.e., middle schoolers). It’s acceptable to expose oneself to the risk of sin only when the potential outcome is better. Since dating leads to marriage and marriage is a holy state, the risk is worth the reward.

Second, one can date without ever kissing passionately. Again, kissing passionately (i.e., tongues and groping and necking etc.) arouses the body to desire, and that desire is not permissible outside of marriage. Kissing passionately, unlike dating, is not all that necessary in order to get married. Some people have their first kiss on their wedding day, so clearly it isn’t essential. Since it’s not really essential and a near occasion of sin, it’s not permissible.

Whether or not it would be a mortal sin, I dunno. But it’s certainly disordered. Sexual excitation belongs to the married, not the discerning.

You would think so…
Since kissing is (or at least can be) a sensual act that is not in of itself procreative.

Personally, I think sex and romance is complicated enough without making endless rules about how to do it properly:shrug:

Shouldn’t kissing (even between married couples) be considered sinful since it can so easily lead to Lust?

I agree. I love Aquinas but I wouldn’t never think to consult the Summa before kissing someone. Legalism seems to rule with most on these boards.

If a husband and wife are living a true Catholic Marriage I don’t think there can be lust between them whether they kiss or go farther then kissing. It’s one of the reasons they married.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a Christian’s heart is lustful when “venereal satisfaction is sought for either outside wedlock or, at any rate, in a manner which is contrary to the laws that govern marital intercourse”. Pope John Paul II states that lust is totally different from the natural desire for sexual love of man and woman.[4]

My lips might be use more for kissing if they weren’t busy with food intake.:confused:

Shouldn’t kissing (even between married couples) be considered sinful since it can so easily lead to Lust?

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