Questions about some church teachings


#1

You may claim sex within marriage has two purposes, procreation and unitive, but babies always come first on everyone’s list. So it is obvious (at least to me) that what you really mean is: sex is reserved for marriage because its sole purpose in God’s plan is to make babies.

Second, why exactly is sex before marriage wrong? I am a former pagan, and I got teased a lot because I believe in monogamy - I don’t support free love/multiple partners because I feel certain that is not how humans are meant to live, and that people who do that always wind up hurting someone. But why is sex wrong in a commited relationship - like for an engaged couple? I have been told it is because only marriage is a committed relationship. By that reasoning, is an engaged person free to date?

Finally, what changes after marriage besides it is legal to have children and it is harder to walk away from the relationship. If you want your partner sexually before marriage, people/church say that’s all you want/have in the relationship. Same feelings, same actions after marriage are suddenly “OK”? What has changed? I simply can’t grasp this.

:confused:


#2

Great questions, usagi!

I’m not Catholic, yet, so i cannot tell you about the church’s teaching on the sacrament of marriage. I can only give you my opinion.

If God wanted sex to be only about making babies, i think He would not have made it such a pleasurable experience! That being said, i think sex is more about commitment then pleasure. Jesus said:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.*(John 3:37)*and the Old Testament tells you or i:

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.*(Psalm 9:10)*There are many passages like that, where God expresses His desire to never let us go. God wants you and i to love others the way He loves us. I think the temptation, and the danger, is that if you both are not fully committed to one another for life, you might not get married. If you break up, it will be like you get divorced before you even tie the knot!

The kind of commitment that comes with getting married is a good thing for me, personally. My wife and i have each had our moments of temporary insanity where we were ready to call it quits. We might have, if we did not have this idea that divorce is not a good thing. I’m glad we didn’t call it quits, 'cause after 15 years, we’re happier than we’ve ever been (in and out of bed).

:slight_smile:


#3

But why is sex wrong in a commited relationship - like for an engaged couple?

The only truly committed relationship there is is Marriage.

I have been told it is because only marriage is a committed relationship. By that reasoning, is an engaged person free to date?

Technically yes, either can break off the engagement and then date others.

Finally, what changes after marriage besides it is legal to have children and it is harder to walk away from the relationship. If you want your partner sexually before marriage, people/church say that’s all you want/have in the relationship. Same feelings, same actions after marriage are suddenly “OK”? What has changed?

It’s not harder to walk away from the relationship after a valid Marriage. It impossible to do so. Unless you want to thumb your nose at God’s law, One man, one woman, for life.

They are correct a relationship has to be built on much more than just a physical relationship, What other things support the relationship?


#4

Procreation is important because it’s one of the primary functions of sexuality, but I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that “babies always come first on everyone’s list.” Ephesians 5:21-33, for example, talks about the relationship between husband and wife, even going so far as to quote Gen 2:24 in verse 31, but it doesn’t say anything about having children.

You might also note that the Catechism spends much more time talking about the unitive effects of marriage and how marriage relates to sin and Christ than it does talking about how marriage must be open to fertility.

Second, why exactly is sex before marriage wrong? I am a former pagan, and I got teased a lot because I believe in monogamy - I don’t support free love/multiple partners because I feel certain that is not how humans are meant to live, and that people who do that always wind up hurting someone. But why is sex wrong in a commited relationship - like for an engaged couple? I have been told it is because only marriage is a committed relationship. By that reasoning, is an engaged person free to date?

Marriage is a sacrament, while relationships like “dating” and “engagement” are not. The commitment of marriage is sealed by God and confers special graces on the spouses so that they can give themselves over completely to each other (CCC 1638-1642).

The purpose of sex is to express and facilitate that complete unity; it involves our complete persons and aims “at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul” (CCC 1643). It also allows the married couple to bring children into the world, creating a family united in love, not unlike the Blessed Trinity – even the procreative aspect of marriage is, in a sense, unitive. Because the purpose of sex is this kind of unity, and because that unity can only be reached in marriage, sex must be reserved for marriage. To have sex outside of marriage, even if the parties are intellectually committed to one another, defeats the purpose of sex.

The issue isn’t whether you have some kind of commitment (as you do with dating or engagement), but whether you have the kind of indissoluble commitment that is sealed by God and confers the graces necessary to achieve the unity that sex was designed to help people reach.

Finally, what changes after marriage besides it is legal to have children and it is harder to walk away from the relationship. If you want your partner sexually before marriage, people/church say that’s all you want/have in the relationship. Same feelings, same actions after marriage are suddenly “OK”? What has changed? I simply can’t grasp this.

As I mentioned, marriage is a sacrament, so it gives grace to the recipients. That grace is “intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity” (CCC 1641). It also has subjective effects: “Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to ‘be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,’ and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb” (CCC 1642).

Things are suddenly “OK” because of that subjective change, not merely because of the change in status of the new married couple.


#5

Sex before marriage is a lie; You are using your body to express a unity that can not exist outside the sacrament of marriage.


#6

I thank everyone for their answers. Many of you gave very thoughtful, wonderful answers. I am grateful for your help.

I am left feeling, however, that love has nothing to do with marriage or sex in the eyes of the Church. You go through marriage prep, and if you pass the Church’s tests and have perfect attendance, you may be allowed to marry the person you love. Otherwise, you are told that you are wrong, go find the person God wants for you. And sex is a duty of marriage, not an act of love between two people who love and care for each other.

I chose to become Catholic of my own free will. My fiance, who is a cradle Catholic neither coaxed nor coerced me into accepting his path. And because I choose it freely, I choose to accept and abide by the rules - please don’t think I am looking for a loophole to get around them. I am just saddened by the rules and the idea that love itself is unimportant in this “sacrament.” That’s all.


#7

I ask you to consider the older couples who marry past their child bearing years. Most genuinely desire to have a partner. This is because of Natural [Moral] Law as well as biology. Men desire women and vice versa

Second, why exactly is sex before marriage wrong? I am a former pagan, and I got teased a lot because I believe in monogamy - I don’t support free love/multiple partners because I feel certain that is not how humans are meant to live, and that people who do that always wind up hurting someone. But why is sex wrong in a committed relationship - like for an engaged couple?

it depends on what you mean by a committed relationship. The Church and most all recognize natural marriage, which is a marriage void of legal or church blessing yet still a marriage. For those conditions the question is “Why are they avoiding the blessing?” Outside of Natural marriage you have fornication which it would seem you grasp the problems of fornication

I have been told it is because only marriage is a committed relationship. By that reasoning, is an engaged person free to date? 

date does not equal sex

Finally, what changes after marriage besides it is legal to have children and it is harder to walk away from the relationship. If you want your partner sexually before marriage, people/church say that’s all you want/have in the relationship. Same feelings, same actions after marriage are suddenly “OK”? What has changed? I simply can’t grasp this.

:confused:

Marriage though often held publicly is really a private affair, that is why the Priest calls himself a witness. He is a witness these two people declared themselves FOREVER committed to the married state and will never act again as an individual. If they live that commitment the change is real, if they do not live that commitment they will pay a high price

Love is presumed, because the couple commitment is to be one even if love dissipates. The classes are nothing more than an attempt to assure you understand the agreement you claim to desire. Ultimately it is both your free will and that of your spouse. The sacrament is the installing grace for those who try to do it correctly, all of it, live the life of a catholic. The church recognizes many marriage which are not sacramental in status.

I hope that helps


#8

If love in marriage were unimportant to the Church, then she would betray Scripture: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her,” says the letter to the Ephesians. Sex is an expression and completion of that love; it’s not merely meant to be procreative.

I think the key thing to meditate on here is the purpose of the Church’s teachings about marriage and sexuality. The goal is not to prevent people from having loving relationships or to make rules for the sake of making rules; it’s to ensure that God’s gifts are used the way He intended, for the “triumphant fulfillment” (to borrow from Peter Kreeft) of sexuality and marriage.

Put more succinctly, the rules and restrictions do seem kind of cold and unfeeling, but the Church sees them not as a way to prevent immoral behavior as much as a way to elevate marriage.

I feel as though this could be explained a little better, but I hope it helps in the meantime.


#9

A “committed” relationship ain’t really committed until it’s a married relationship, no? :slight_smile:


#10

I think perhaps it comes down to what is revealed in the Creation story-- the two become one flesh through their sexual union. If you have sex in a relationship that is monogamous, but not one in which the partners are committed for life, you will likely end up with multiple sexual partners over your lifetime, as will those you are having sex with. This would essentially mean that you become one flesh with each of those partners, and everyone they have joined themselves to as well. Gets kind of creepy after a short amount of thought, no?

So the ideal is that one would have a single sexual partner across one’s entire life. Perhaps one might marry again if they outlive their spouse, but otherwise… Then the unitive action between two people which God intended from our creation is fulfilled. Through this physical union, we grow closer spiritually and emotionally. This union then produces children (assuming that there are no fertility issues)–life springing forth from the union of love and self sacrifice.

That is the intrinsic beauty of sex. We can achieve a unity between two persons that is otherwise unknowable in the human condition, and become co-creators of new life in cooperation with God. As such, a sexual relationship is in some way sacred, which is why the Church teaches it should be used only within the sacred union of the Sacrament of Matrimony. It is also inherently a part of the most basic building block of our society, the family. To be promiscuous perverts this intrinsic beauty and diminishes the sacred nature of such an intimate relationship, as does the intentional blocking of the natural biological results (pregnancy).


#11

Let me throw in this element into the conversation - Why does God bother to allow us to participate in creation?

God can create new people anytime any way He wants. For some reason (a pretty great one, I think) he instead allows us to be the instruments of creating new people.

I always think that puts the marriage thing into a different perspective - just thinkin’ out loud.:slight_smile:


#12

What program did you go through?

You apparently participted in a very different marriage preparation process than the one my wife and I host with the engaged couples we sponsor.

I assure you the Church does not teach that sex is just a marital “duty”.

Chuck

Chuck


#13

Because procreation is a unique event related to the sexual act it is more strongly identified with it. Many things can promote unity for a couple, only one of which is sexual intimacy, so there is less of a “cause and effect” relationship between sexual intimacy and the unity is creates than there is to procreation and sexual intimacy.

So it is obvious (at least to me) that what you really mean is: sex is reserved for marriage because its sole purpose in God’s plan is to make babies.

No, that is an illogical conclusion. The lifespan of married people exceeds their reproductive years yet the Church does not limit sexual intimacy to women who havent entered menopause.

…why exactly is sex before marriage wrong? I am a former pagan, and I got teased a lot because I believe in monogamy - I don’t support free love/multiple partners because I feel certain that is not how humans are meant to live, and that people who do that always wind up hurting someone. But why is sex wrong in a commited relationship - like for an engaged couple? I have been told it is because only marriage is a committed relationship. By that reasoning, is an engaged person free to date?

I like your last question -you answered your first one by yourself!
There is simply a difference between actually entering into a marriage (ie swearing before God and witness) and intending to do so. To put it bluntly, talk is cheap. I can only assume you are not married. It is very intense actually going before God and all your family - and your spouses family and declaring your intention to forsake yourself for the sake of your spouse - very intense indeed. Simply intending to to do it just isnt the same.

Finally, what changes after marriage besides it is legal to have children and it is harder to walk away from the relationship.

Harder to walk away? You have entered into a covenant with God on his terms and you have done so freely: it is impossible to walk away. Legal to have children? There is no such law that it is illegal to have children outside of marriage. It is a mortal sin, but it is perfectly legal.

If you want your partner sexually before marriage, people/church say that’s all you want/have in the relationship.

That’s not true - everyone recognizes that men and women are physically attracted to one another. If your relationship cannot exist independent of that attraction, or your relationship is disproportionately skewed towards sexual intimacy then they might start talking.

Same feelings, same actions after marriage are suddenly “OK”? What has changed? I simply can’t grasp this.

What has changed? The relationship between the two of you, God, and everyone else in the universe - has changed. You are no longer two, but one. You probably will not grasp it fully - especially if you are sexually active with your “date”.


#14

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