Recently I was struggling with sexual fantasies, trying to realize why the scenario was wrong, why God didn’t make them reality. It seemed to me ultimately that God didn’t design such fantasies for the reason the Catechism states:
[quote=“http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm"]"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."
In other words, the end is communion (true love); pleasure is a byproduct of seeking that end, and it is disordered to seek pleasure as the end rather than this relationship. Right?
But it appears this parallels the digestive faculties: Food is for nutrition, and pleasure is a byproduct of seeking nutrition, right? Then, by the same token, eating for the sake of pleasure rather than for nutrition is sinful, right? We call it ‘gluttony’. Unfortunately, many today seem to think gluttony is only “eating a ridiculously excessive amount of food”, but this seems to be the same misunderstanding that masturbation is only wrong “when you do it too much”, as likewise some in the Church have told me. The proper understanding, I think, is still contained in the Catholic Encyclopedia from 1917:
[quote=“http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Gluttony”]This deordination, according to the teaching of the Angelic Doctor, may happen in five ways …] It is incontrovertible that to eat or drink for the mere pleasure of the experience, and for that exclusively, is likewise to commit the sin of gluttony.
Doesn’t it follow then that chewing gum is sinful, because it is seeking pleasure without nutrition? Certainly, if you have the choice between soda and fruit juice, choosing the soda is sinful? Likewise, fruit or vegetables versus a bag of Doritos, choosing the bag of Doritos is sinful?
Clearly junk food has calories and can keep someone from starving – i.e. it does contain some scarce amount of nutrition, so that if there is nothing better, then eating it is not sinful. However, in American society, when one has the choice of healthy food and instead buys such radically unhealthy food (soda for example contains essentially no nutritional value – just sugar and carbohydrates; it can even interfere with digestion, when consumed with food, because water is needed to digest both the food and the soda) – Isn’t choosing to buy unhealthy food, seeking pleasure as the end of eating, just as sinful as seeking pleasure as the end of one’s sexual faculties? Why don’t more Americans realize this? Why won’t more Americans accept this?