Sex Is a Gift and a Joy

Roman Catholic Church and other Catholic Churches

If a sexual expression is sought outside marriage or in which the procreative function of sexual expression within marriage is deliberately frustrated (e.g., the use of artificial contraception), the Catholic Church expresses its concern. Among what are considered sins according to the Catechism to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices. Additionally, "adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offences against the dignity of marriage".

Catholic theology of sexuality is drawn from natural law, canonical scripture, divine revelation, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Sexual morality evaluates sexual behaviour according to standards laid out by Catholic moral theology and often provides general principles by which Catholics can evaluate whether specific actions meet these standards.

For thousands of years, most anthropologists believe, families consisted of loosely organized groups of as many as 30 people, with several male leaders, multiple women shared by them, and children. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C. in Mesopotamia; back then, marriage had little to do with love or religion.

Most ancient societies needed a secure environment to perpetuate the species, a system of rules to handle the granting of property rights, and the protection of bloodlines. The institution of marriage handled these needs. For example, in ancient Hebrew, the law required a man to become the husband of a deceased brother's widow. Marriage comes from Middle English which was first seen in 1250-1300 CE. The main goal of marriage was to act as an alliance between families. Throughout history, and even today, families arranged marriages for couples. Natural law (Latin: lex naturalis) refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature to deduce binding rules of moral behaviour from God's creation of reality and mankind. "The natural law is written and engraved in the soul of every man because it is human reason ordaining him to do good and forbidding him to sin." It is called "Natural", because the reason which decrees it properly belongs to human nature. Its main precepts are found in the Ten Commandments.

In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: "...the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law.

In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: "...the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law.

Marriage is a sacrament and a public commitment between a man and a woman. Marriage builds the family and society. The Church considers the expression of love between husband and wife to be an elevated form of human activity, joining them in complete, mutual self-giving and opening their relationship to new life. As Pope Paul VI wrote in Humanae vitae, "The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, "noble and worthy."

The Church's detailed doctrines derive from the principle that "sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive between spouses purposes". At the same time, the Bishops at Vatican II decreed that the essential procreative end of a marriage does not make "the other purposes of matrimony of less account."

Because sex is considered chaste only within the context of marriage, it has come to be called the "nuptial act" in Catholic discourse. Among Catholics, the nuptial act is considered to be the conjoining of a man and a woman through sexual intercourse, considered an act of love between two married persons, and is considered, in this way, a gift from God. When discussing chastity, the Catechism lists several transgressions and sins against it.

The Church holds that the legal separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in some instances provided for by canon law.

The Church teaches that sexual intercourse has a two-fold unitive and procreative purpose; According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "conjugal love aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul", since the marriage bond is to be a sign of the love between God and humanity.

Because Catholics believe God found everything he created to be "very good", the Catholic Church teaches that the human body and sex must likewise be good. Every person is created in the image of God and therefore has great dignity, including their sexuality. Sexuality is not purely biological; rather, it concerns the intimate nucleus of the person.

In Church history, there have been significantly differing opinions on the nature of the severity of various sexual sins. In the present Church, likewise, there exists still wide opinions by theologians and much of the laity on official Church teaching on sexuality.

God wants us to be happy and fulfilled, which is precisely why He designed things the way they are. The Catholic Church teaches that human life and human sexuality are inseparable. Catholics believe that God created human beings in his own image and likeness and that he found everything he created to be "very good,"

We consider the expression of love between a man and a woman to be an elevated form of human activity, joining in complete mutual self-giving and opening their relationship to new life. "The sexual activity in which a man and a woman are intimately and united with one another is "noble and worthy".

We teach that sexual pleasure is good and created by God, who meant for couples to "experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit." The desire for the pleasure of sex apart from its intended purpose of procreation and the uniting of man and woman, body and spirit, in mutual self-donation.

How about

  • Masturbation? Yes

  • Can you use contraception? Yes. In January 2015, during his return flight from a visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis was asked by a German journalist for his thoughts on the findings of some polls that most Filipinos think the population growth in the country, with each woman having on average three children, is one of the chief reasons for its poverty, and that many there disagree with Catholic teaching on contraception. He replied that the key is "responsible parenthood": Some people think that, excuse my expression here, that to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood. This is clear, and that is why in the Church, there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors, one can search, and I know so many ways that are licit and that have helped this. He also said that Pope Paul VI's teaching was prophetic, given the drop in the birth rate in some countries to little more than one child per woman.

  • Abortion? No, and maybe yes, In the early modern periods, theologians continued to write on issues relating to sexual morality and marriage, one example being Giovanni Maria Chiericato (Joannes Clericati) in his Decisiones de Matrimonio. The Church Doctor St. Alphonsus Liguori, a preeminent moral theologian, considered therapeutic abortions to save the mother from immediate danger justified.: 108 –109  Pope Pius IX, in his 1869 bull, Apostolicae Sedis, instituted a Church policy labelling all abortion as homicide and condemning abortion regardless of the stage of pregnancy since Pope Sixtus V in his 1588 bull.: 110   115  However, some readings of Apostolicae Sedis meant that the ex-communication for abortion didn't extend to the mother. The Winnipeg Statement is the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' statement on the papal encyclical Humanae vitae from a plenary assembly held at Saint Boniface in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Published on September 27, 1968, it is the Canadian bishops' document about rejecting Pope Paul VI's July 1968 encyclical on human life and birth regulation. The Church does not consider illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result therefrom, so long as the contraceptive effect is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. For example, using of female steroid hormones as a treatment for endometriosis rather than with contraceptive intent is not considered to conflict in any way with Catholic teaching.

Moral theologians call this the principle of double effect. The use of condoms to prevent disease is a more controversial and complex issue, with theologians arguing both sides. Unlike drugs and surgical procedures, the Church's position as of 2013 was that using condoms during sex for any purpose is morally contraceptive and thus a sin. Issues surrounding the Catholic Church and AIDS have become highly controversial since 1990, primarily because many prominent Catholic leaders publicly declared their opposition of using condoms as a disease preventative. Other issues involve religious participation in global healthcare services and collaboration with secular organizations such as UNAIDS and the World Health Organization. In November 2010, Pope Benedict said that it was a responsible act, though still not a truly moral solution, to use condoms in some very special cases as a device for the prevention of disease. He gave male prostitutes as an example, whose purpose is to "reduce the risk of infection" from HIV. While still believing that contraceptive devices interfere with the creation of life, the Pope stated that in that particular case, it could be a responsible act to raise awareness of the nature of such an act and, as a benefit, to avoid death and save a life, though only as a first step, not a genuinely moral solution, before convincing the male prostitute of a truly moral solution, which means ceasing prostitution and sexual activity outside of marriage. There was some confusion at first whether the statement applied only to homosexual prostitutes and, thus, not to heterosexual intercourse. However, Federico Lombardi, spokesman of the Vatican, clarified that it applied to heterosexual and transsexual prostitutes, both male and female, as well. He also clarified that, in the interview, the Pope did not reverse the Church's centuries-old prohibition on contraceptive use in the context of heterosexual sexual acts, which the Church states must always be open to the transmission of life, and that he did not reverse his positions on homosexual acts and prostitution either.

  • Anal sex? No

  • Homosexuality? Yes

  • Incest and child sex abuse are counted as sins in the church's catechism in paragraphs 2388–2389

  • The Catholic Church condemns rape as "always an intrinsically evil act. The Magisterium allows women the prudential use of Emergency contraception by rape victims to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception is a birth control measure taken to reduce the risk of pregnancy following unprotected sexual intercourse or when other regular contraceptive measures have not worked properly or have not been used correctly. It is intended to be used occasionally and is not the same as medical abortion. Emergency contraception is offered to women who do not wish to conceive but have had unprotected sex on any day of the menstrual cycle, from day 21 after giving birth, or from day five after abortion or miscarriage. Emergency contraception measures include tablets taken by mouth or inserting a copper intrauterine device. Emergency contraception is not related to medical abortion, a drug regimen administered to terminate pregnancies into the second and even third trimester.