28 October 2021

Does Catholic Teaching on Human Sexuality Need to be Updated?

'So, no, Catholic Teaching on human sexuality does not need to be updated.  Society needs to stop being prideful, sinful and irrational.  Society needs to find its way back to God, God’s truths, and His moral laws.'

From Catholic Stand

By Gene Van Son

Catholic teaching on human sexuality is clear as crystal.  God created two sexes – male and female.  To enable the human race to flourish, God gave man (males) half of the equipment needed for reproduction and He gave woman (females) the other half.

Only in the marriage of a man and a woman do the two halves come together as one, as God intended.  So sexual relations are only licit and moral between a man and woman who are man and wife, and only when they are not using any form of artificial birth control.

As Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Familiaris Consortio (11):

“Consequently, sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is by no means something purely biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and a woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.

“This totality which is required by conjugal love also corresponds to the demands of responsible fertility. This fertility is directed to the generation of a human being, and so by its nature it surpasses the purely biological order and involves a whole series of personal values.”

Procreation not Recreation

Today, however, many people seem to think Church teaching on sexual morality is archaic and badly in need of ‘updating.’  They think that ‘the marital act’ is not just for marriage anymore. They think sexual relations outside of marriage is a recreational activity.  And since sex is now a recreational activity, sexual acts between two men or two women are also perfectly acceptable.

On top of all this, we are now being told that an individual’s sex is not biological – that ‘gender’ is a state of mind.  But since sex and gender are one in the same (even though progressives and LGBTQ activists are determined to redefine the two words) such thinking is completely irrational.

A few years ago an article ran at Salon entitled, “Sex for “mere pleasure”?  Shame on you! — 15 sexual hang-ups we can blame on the Catholic Church.”  The article, written by a psychologist name Valerie Tarico, pretty much said everything the Church teaches about sexuality is wrong.  The majority of the scholarly sources Tarico linked to in her 3,000 word article were Wikipedia and . . . Valerie Tarico!  Now that’s chutzpah!

Of course the Catholic Church is not “obsessed with sex” as Tarico claims.  It is mankind that is obsessed with sex.  And the sin of lust is being glorified almost everywhere these days.

God Knows More than Us

But St. Paul is very clear that sex outside of marriage and sexual acts between two men or two women are immoral – sinful – acts (read 1 Corinthians 6:91 Timothy 1:8-11Romans 1:25-28, for instance). And such teaching cannot be ‘updated.’  It is God’s teaching.

As Jesus told the 72 in Luke 10:16, “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

Some try to argue, however, that thanks to science we know more about human sexuality than they did in Jesus’ time.  Such arguments, however, fail to take into account that God is omniscient and He created us.  God knows everything about human beings and human sexuality.

One commenter here at CS even wrote recently, “This idea that genitalia makes you male or female is really short-sighted. There are plenty of things that make one male or female. Is a person with XY chromosomes and a vagina a male or a female? People can be born with both male characteristics and female characteristics. Pretending these people don’t exist makes us Christians look pretty stupid.”

Of course, saying “Pretending that these people don’t exist makes us Christians look pretty stupid,” is a somewhat flippant remark.  Many, if not most Christians, and the Catholic Church specifically, are fully aware of the existence of “intersexed” individuals.

Intersexed Individuals

Fr. Ted Pacholczyk, director of the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s certification program in health care ethics, addressed the issue of “intersexed” individuals in an article entitled “Making Sense of Bioethics: Column 132: Seeing through the Intersex Confusion.”

In short, Fr. Pacholczyk says despite any abnormalities, such people are indeed male or female.

“[I]ntersex situations represent cases in which a person is either male or female, but has confounding physiological factors that make them appear or feel as if they were of the opposite sex, or maybe even both sexes. In other words, the underlying sex remains, even though the psychology or gender they experience may be discordant.”

Fr. Pacholczyk has degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, as well as a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University, so it’s a good bet that he knows what he is talking about.

But it’s likely that Jesus addressed such instances as well in Mathew 19:12 when His disciples suggested that maybe it’s better for no one to marry. Jesus replied to them:

“Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” [Emphasis added].

Then and Now

Biblical scholars say that “born so” and “made so” refers to eunuchs.  But “born so” could apply to intersexed individuals as well.

There’s no question that intersexed individuals have a cross to carry.  But God will give them the graces they need to carry their crosses just as He gives all of us the graces we need to carry our crosses.  We have only to ask for them.

At the same time, “made so” could apply to those who are afflicted with same-sex attraction.

Science cannot find a genetic cause of homosexuality and it should be pretty evident by now to everyone that God did not make men or women with same-sex attraction.   As The Catholic Medical Association stated in a pamphlet on Same Sex Attraction, “Same-sex attractions and behaviors appear to be the consequence of a convergence of developmental, emotional, psychological, and social factors.”

Let us not forget that God is omniscient.  It is foolhardy to think that 2,000 years ago God had no idea that scientific research would discover chromosomes, genomes, gametes, DNA, and Sexual Development Disorders.

It’s also foolish to think that God would deliberately inflict his children with a sinful sexual disorder.  It’s also foolish to think that He would not know that homosexual behavior, which has always been immoral, would become a big problem in the late 1900s.  And it’s also foolish to think He would not know that divorce, fornication, abortion, and transgenderism would be problems as well.

Permanent but Not Permanent?

The moral laws God gave to His Chosen People in the Old Testament did not change with Jesus sacrifice for us, and they cannot be changed now.  Jesus tells us so in Mathew 5:17-18:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place” [Emphasis added].

But even that once august body the American Medical Association (AMA) seems to be confused about sexuality these days.  The Medical Student Section of AMA House of Delegates recently drafted a resolution calling for “Removing Sex Designation from the Public Portion of the Birth Certificate.”

We like to think that doctors are rationale people but this resolution is anything but rationale.  First it says that the sex designation is not permanent.  But then it says it is and that sex designation should only be visible for medical and statistical use.  So it’s not permanent but it is?

Wisdom or Folly?

We’ve already seen what happens when society ignores or tries to insist that God’s Moral Laws are wrong.  The divorce rate shoots up to 50 percent.  All of a sudden it’s okay to murder a baby that’s still in its mother’s womb.  Suddenly sodomy is perfectly acceptable.  Then the Sacrament of Marriage, instituted by God, gets redefined by man.

Now we are being told that sexuality is not biological, it is a state of mind.

But if this is so, a woman who thinks she’s a man should be able to produce sperm. And a man who thinks he’s a woman should be able to produce oocytes.  This is, however, a biological impossibility.  Unless you are a certain species of fish.

As Tom Collingwood wrote recently, “The emphasis on accepting transgenders as they identify themselves and the fear of offending feelings and sensibilities masks the ultimate consequence of accommodating to the [transgender] movement, which is to deny reality. We are being forced to accept and go along with a false narrative.”

So all those who think they are right and Catholic Teaching on sexuality is wrong might want to re-think their positions.  Disagreeing with God is not showing a lot of wisdom.  It is a Tower of Babel kind off hubris.

All of this is nothing less than man letting the evil one deceive him into thinking he is smarter than God.

Final Note

So why are there intersexed people in the world?  For that matter, why are people born with various other birth defects?  Does God will this or does he allow such suffering so as to bring good out it?

Many theologians argue that God allows suffering so as to bring good out of it.  But this does not explain how birth defects came about in the first place.

Medical research has identified various causes for birth defects.  “For some birth defects, researchers know the cause. But for many birth defects, the exact cause is unknown.”

Yet still the question has been and will continue to be asked, “If God made us in His image, how come things like birth defects, genetic defects, and chromosomal problems exist?”  But Catholics should know the answer to this question.   Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, death and suffering came into the world.  Sin changed everything.

As CCC 400 states:

“The harmony in which they [Adam and Eve] had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay.”

Compassion and Virtuosity, not Irrationality

We should certainly feel compassion for those suffering from same-sex attraction, sexuality  development disorders, or Gender Dysphoria, just as we should for any individual suffering from a physical deformity, mental illness, or even an incurable disease.  All are crosses people have to bear.

Today, however, instead of acknowledging our sins, repenting, and trying to live virtuous lives, society is trying to make sin perfectly acceptable.  Society is even celebrating sinfulness today.  And  its generally helping the father of lies to spread confusion and pull us further away from God.

So, no, Catholic Teaching on human sexuality does not need to be updated.  Society needs to stop being prideful, sinful and irrational.  Society needs to find its way back to God, God’s truths, and His moral laws.

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