I read that paragraph. My question to you is, where does it say it’s gravely sinful?
In other words, when does foreplay become a marital act?
The Catechism does not always restate everything. It is gravely sinful…such has long been the teaching of the Church
“fore” play …are the chaste sexual acts of husband and wife that prepare for the martial act…
Please explain how it is not ordered to procreation. Is there a different order that was followed for the wife to become pregnant?
One does not become pregnant every time they have sex. Even when it was done in order to procreation.
It is difficult to go into detail on a forum like this (see rules too) for there can be young eyes present. There are various good Catholic sources --perhaps see the Catholic Answers bookstore for example.
As to marital relations (intercourse) during pregnancy --one ought to check with ones doctor.
So if you agree that every act (EVERY ACT) must be ordered to procreation then there should be no further discussion. A marital act ordered towards procreation does not = procreation. But it is still ordered that way. See the infertile times of the woman’s cycle. The state of the woman (ie fertile, pregnant, menopause, infertile, etc) does not change the the teachings of the Church on the act.
Where in the Catechism does it say that you should not attack someone with a chain saw? The point is, if you read what the Church states you will see clear guidelines about the marital act. The Church does not get into the “details” of the foreplay or positions or things like that. If there are questions surrounding this, I would recommend contacting a faithful priest.
Reading over what I provided in post #6 will be a good place to start. We are not given to each other as husband and wives to be pleasurable sex toys. The marital embrace is a free, total, faithful, fruitful gift of oneself to their spouse.
The acts which you discuss are gravely sinful because it falls under the category of mutual masturbation. Using each other for an orgasm (going back to your mentioning oral sex). The Church is very clear about this:
2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.
2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action."138 “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."139
To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.
I already did. The woman is already pregnant. I think the paragraph could be flipped around and used to argue why couples who cannot physically procreate shouldn’t engage in sex either.
Like I said, the paragraph seems ambiguous. And I’m not saying that I don’t agree. I’m Catholic, I agree with everything the Catechism teaches. But I believe not every situation is the same either. The Church in Her brilliance recognizes this.
If we’re going by strictly “what the Catechism says”, then I’m still waiting to read where foreplay is gravely sinful. Or where it says every time you are intimate with your partner you must have intercourse to completion and intercourse alone.
I can come up with more situations to the scenario. Like the husband is impotent, or the wife suffers from a chronic illness preventing intercourse. How then are we to respond? Complete abstinence?
I must say again, I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea that all acts must strictly ending in intercourse. At least couple who are completely healthy and open to life. I’m saying that I don’t know, and the arguments for it are not convincing me.
The woman is pregnant. No act can potentially be procreative. So should they abstain from any act?
Also, is a hug an act? How about a kiss?
The action is yes by nature open to life --(things are carried out as intended by God) one is not doing something to cause it not to be and one is engaging in normal chaste marital relations…
Such is not the nature of the document. It is not intended as a course in Moral Theology or marital Chastity.
Climax outside the context of the marital act (see my note above) is yes gravely sinful…
This analogy is not perfect (and there may very well be subsequent posters who explain exactly how it is not perfect:p), but it may help:
Say you make a nice dinner. You grow or buy the food, you prepare it, you set the table, you dish the food you’ve prepared onto your plate, you feast your eyes on it, you can smell it - yum! Then you put some into your mouth, enjoy the texture, and chew. Then you spit it out.
You did a lot of the stuff that makes eating pleasurable, but you didn’t actually eat.
Now apply that to the bedroom. What makes sex sex? The joining of man and wife. All the other stuff that comes before - hence the name “foreplay” - is just fine. It’s nice to include those experiences. But they don’t define sex, and it would be just as weird to do all that stuff and then not actually have sex, as it would be to prepare for a great elaborate meal and then not actually consume the food.
It’s grave matter because sex is important. It signifies Christ’s relationship to his Church (the Bridegroom and the Bride). So even if procreation cannot biologically be part of the equation, that part is still always going on.
I understand your analogy. I guess I would propose the question to you that I asked Mirror Mirror. What is a marital act? Could a kiss be a marital act?
For such a grave sin, I need a statement from a Catholic source or doctrine to say it is grave matter. To which, given a number of circumstances, I do not see in every case. This is why in my original post I considered it a “gray area”.
In quoting the Catechism, we must define our terms. And the terms it uses at times can seem ambiguous. And given certain situations, interpretations can very.
At this point I am not sure what it is that you are trying to justify. I am not sure why defining the “Marital act” is difficult. Common sense tells us what this is…sexual intercourse. Or as you can see in the Catechism it is called the ‘marriage act’ or even the ‘conjugal act.’
The Catechism is clear that each sexual act must be ordered towards procreation. If you are looking for other Catholic resources please look into the Theology of the Body by Blessed John Paul II. There are other works like “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” or even “Holy Sex” that will be beneficial as well.
For me, personally, I struggle trying to understand why one would not want to finish the act in the proper way. Your foreplay is still there just slightly confused as to why one would want the “end” of the act to be outside of their wife?
To be fair, there are times and situations when a person (I can only think of situations where it would be the wife :o) would not be willing to engage in intercourse while still following the teachings of the Church. Pregnancy could be one of them, as some women find it unpleasant, especially as pregnancy progresses. But YMMV - some women find the opposite (and some change their minds about it depending on what stage they’re in.) After childbirth, a woman also needs to recuperate and it may be several weeks or even months before intercourse is comfortable (even barring any medical complications). Every so often in the Family Life forum, there will be threads on this very topic - a husband wants sex, his wife cannot and/or will not endure the pain and discomfort of intercourse, so he requests an alternate form of “satisfaction” which are against the moral teachings of the Church.
IMO such situations are sad because they reveal that the husband, at least, is not regarding sex (or his wife) properly - she becomes an instrument to satisfy lust rather than a person in the likeness of God. It reveals an “entitlement” mentality about sex. (Not that this can only be men, but it’s just the situations that I’ve seen posted about here on CAF).
My understanding is that any mutual, loving sexual act in marriage is unitive. A procreative act must finish correctly. Do others understand a different definition of unitive?
I suspect you infer the wrong intent. The couple may be attracted to, say, mutual masturbation, and wonder whether it’s ok at this time given the act does not lessen the procreative potential of the act, given the pregnant status of the wife. Not valid reasoning I know.
I think you misinterpret the word “procreative”. The word is about the “form” of the act, NOT about the possible outcomes. Coitus with a post-menopausal woman, a pregnant woman, an infertile woman, an infertile man, and so on, are ALL procreative, so long as no artificial birth control is employed.
Acts are not procreative if carried out in a manner that would not, assuming good health, deposit semen in the woman. And yes, this teaching can lead to some sad situations where sexual enjoyment cannot be had for an extended period.
“Marital Act” refers to coitus, or certain illicit acts that a couple may seek to substitute, eg. Mutual masturbation to completion. A kiss, foreplay, etc are not the “marital act” as used by the Church.
Each marital act is required to be unitive and procreative.
With these definitions clarified, do you find the Church teaching to be clear? If not, please specify areas of ambiguity.