Browsing the forums, I have seen many people say something along the lines of: " (sexual act with one’s spouse) is morally permissible *only if *it leads to vaginal sex." This entails that such an act is not morally permissible if it is done without “completion”; i.e. this entails that the sexual act is wrong if it is “foreplay only” even if it is unitive and does not result in sexual climax outside of vaginal intercourse. All sexual acts, from passionate kissing to heavy petting, are thus grave matter if they are done without intention to complete the act in this way.
Although this may be an unintended consequences of the above line of thought, I have seen many on the boards endorse this no-foreplay conclusion, saying that “foreplay only” is a grave matter regardless of whether it brings the couple together or not. However, many of these same posters also say things like “*any *oral stimulation is wrong” or “one must have *grave *(not simply ‘good’ or ‘serious’) reasons to use NFP.” This makes me think these posts are made from scrupulous consciences, and the rigor of these prescriptions is not based on clear Church teaching.
So here’s my question: Does the Church teach that engaging in a sexual act with one’s spouse as unitive, non-climactic “foreplay only” count as grave matter? If one argues that the Church does teach that, please include a citation or quotation from an authoritative Church document - hopefully spelling out how that document explicitly condemns “foreplay only” or entails that “foreplay only” is wrong - speculation or personal opinions are fine, but I’d like to hear arguments based on Church teaching if at all possible.
Also, yes, I’m sure Christopher West has seven encyclopedic volumes tackling this issue. I’d prefer, though, that the discussion does not just boil down to people plugging his books - but discussing those issues the books discuss. It’s fine to have a theologian on one’s side, but let’s talk about and evaluate the reasons the theologian has for his position.