Friday, November 4, 2016
Roman Catholicism’s View of Sex
(I’ve used these quotations in a 2014 article about contraception, but when I came across these in a file this week I decided that they needed to be in a post of their own, explaining the absurdity of the Catholic view of sex. They explain why priests can’t marry, why Mary must remain a perpetual virgin, and why they consider contraception to be evil.)
St. Augustine by the end of the fourth century, had developed the doctrine of original sin in such a manner as virtually to equate it with sexual pleasure. Soon the conviction was firmly entrenched that, inside or outside of marriage, an act of intercourse propelled by desire and consummated for pleasure is always wrong. Perpetual virginity thus came to be considered the highest good and absolute celibacy was required by all who would take churchly vows. Marriage was permitted as a concession to the weak but, even within marriage, intercourse was looked upon as a necessary evil legitimate only for the propagation of the race. Augustine regarded marriage as a kind of confessional arrangement, a sacrificial means of forgiveness for the sin involved in the pleasure of coitus; and Aquinas, arguing that wedlock with intercourse is really more holy, quoted with approval the saying of philosopher Xystus: ‘He who loves his own wife too ardently is an adulterer.’’ . . .
[U]ntil it forthrightly affirms the legitimate place of sexual pleasure as a unitive embrace, without regard to procreation, the [Roman Catholic] church will continue to encourage the ancient idea that there is something inherently evil about the sex act itself. And mere endorsement of the rhythm method is no such affirmation. The most debilitating thing about the rhythm method is not that it imposes an abnormal limitation upon the expression of marital love, but that it undergirds the false idea that sex is a biological appetite that can be scheduled — like eating or sleeping. If we hold to the principle that the only purpose of intercourse is procreation and carry this principle to its logical consequence, we cannot avoid the grotesque conclusion that all intercourse after menopause is illicit.
Serious anthropological confusion lies at the root of all this antisexualism. Whenever there is a confusion about the nature of man there will always be confusion about much else. Religious antisexualism emerges from a sadly limited definition of man, a view that divorces sexuality from his total being. Such a view segregates sex and translates it into a limited set of actions that may be regulated by law, or discarded with impunity.
(William S. Banowsky, It’s A Playboy World, p.74, 76)
As St. Augustine notes, "Intercourse even with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. (Catechism, para.55)
(Remember, Augustine is also the guy who brought us what is now known as Calvinism, replacement theology, as well as a lot of spiritualizing of Scripture!)