I’m not talking about the medieval popes either (which would also be true, albeit in a different sense).
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to think of the Catholic Church as a sexually repressed religion. Bishops, priests, and nuns obviously don’t have sex and so one would think that sex = bad. This is what a lot of people think the Catholic Church’s sex education consists of:
This is a far cry from the truth. Let’s take a look at some of the hidden treasures the Catholic Church teachings about sex.
First Teaching: So many people get caught up on the evolution vs. creationism debate in Genesis 1 that they miss the beauty of the creation story. Genesis is one of the five books that make up the Torah, which means in Hebrew, “God’s Law.” To read the Torah is to “Halakhah with Adonai-Elohim,” meaning, “to walk with God.” One reason to read the Torah is to seek God’s Wisdom for how to live. The most famous of these commands is the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt Sinai.
The Church teaches that these laws were only given, because the human heart had become cold. God had to re-present to the Israelites the law that had been written upon the heart of Adam and Eve since the beginning. We always see God as some “hard-butt,” who has a ton of laws, and will zap us if we disobey. However, Adam and Eve were only given two commands in the beginning. The first command is found in Genesis 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply.” Half of the original commandments was to have sex. Man was created to make love in paradise! A student came in to my office and said their professor had stated that the Catholic Church viewed sex as evil but needed it for procreation, so they made marriage a sacrament to justify sex. Nothing could be further from the truth. Genesis states that after God had given the command to Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and multiply,” God looked at all that he had commanded and pronounced it VERY GOOD. Sex was a part of God’s creation, therefore, very good.
C.S Lewis says this in Mere Christianity: “I know some muddle-headed Christians have talked as if Christianity thought that sex, or the body, or pleasure, were bad in themselves. But they were wrong, Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which throughly approves of the body-which believes matter is good, that God himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us in heaven and is going to be an essential part of our Happiness, our beauty and our energy. Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion: and nearly all the greatest love poetry in the has been produced by Christians. If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once.”
Have you ever thought about the fact that God could have chosen so many other ways for mankind to procreate, but in the genius of God’s thought he created sex, something we view as dirty and secretive or casual and lighthearted, yet neither view matches God’s view. God views sex as very good, so good that His beloved children would come into existence through sex. One of the effects of original sin is we have a distorted view of God – God’s authorship of sex and his command, Thou shall be fruitful and multiply, is great material for us to ponder to help correct our false idea of God!
Second Teaching: One lie believed by most all, including Catholics, is that God made sex good, but sin makes sex great! Sure its great to have sex in marriage, but why do so many housewives eat up books like 50 Shades of Grey?
It’s because the devil knows if he can confuse sex, he has won the greatest battle. But like everything the devil whispers, this is a lie. God, not the devil, invented sex and this brings us to one of my favorite sex quotes. St Thomas Aquinas said that sexual pleasure was EVEN GREATER BEFORE THE FALL, because the fallen and unnatural can never give as much pleasure as the unfallen and natural. Sin did not increase pleasure but greatly diminished it. Let this teaching be your conscience when you see a trailer for 50 Shades of Grey or look at Hugh Hefner as the architect of sex and know these sins are the reason sexual pleasure has been significantly lessened. God desired even more pleasure from sex than Freud could have ever dreamed of!
Sidenote: Why did God lessen sexual pleasure after the fall? It was for the protection of the woman. The power God had given man in his body was meant for the service and protection of his wife. After pride and lust had entered the heart of man, he would use his strength not to serve the woman, but to dominate and use her. This can be seen in the line of Cain’s (who committed the first murder by killing his brother) descendants. Cain’s 6th descendant, Lamech, takes TWO wives and is the first man to treat women as objects of possession instead of equals in love. God in his mercy diminished sexual pleasure for the protection of his daughters.
Third Teaching: This teaching comes from St. Pope John Paul II.
This celibate man knew more about sex than all the sexual doctors and Hugh Hefners combined. JPII devoted most of his learning to the philosophy of love and sex. John Paul II had a gifted intellect and a great story was told by some of his parishioners who were at the first parish he was assigned to. They used to travel to the Church for Fr Wojtlya’s study time, and they would proceed to read a book aloud to him while he read a separate book – for he had the gift of being able to read multiple books at once! He lived through the greatest devastation of the 20th Century, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He grew up in Poland and many of his childhood friends were Jewish. He watched many of them be taken to the death camps and even had his great friend and spiritual director killed by the Nazis. After the dust had settled and Fr. Karol had time to reflect on his experiences, he wrote extensively on the underlying philosophy of the Nazis, Utilitarianism. This philosophy and way of life seeks pleasure as the highest good and teaches that everyone should seek pleasure as their ultimate happiness. It also teaches to live life in a way that maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain. As an expert on sex and love, JPII said that although Utilitarianism is dangerous for all aspects in life, it is especially dangerous in the sexual realm, and is found mostly in the sexual realm. In the fight against utilitarianism in the sexual realm, John Paul II taught this about pornography – the problem with pornography is that it doesn’t show TOO MUCH, but it shows TOO LITTLE! Pornography isn’t only wrong because it shows people having sex, it’s mostly wrong because it shows people using each other for pleasure instead of GIVING themselves to each other in love. The only proper attitude towards a human person is love, and pornography uses a person as merely an object for sexual pleasure. According to John Paul II, this is worse than hatred and the antithesis of love.
Going off this principle, John Paul II also taught that it is a man’s MORAL OBLIGATION to bring his wife to CLIMAX (aka orgasm). That’s right gentlemen, it is a SIN not to put all your effort into your wife’s full enjoyment of sex, and if you fail to give your best, head to the confessional nearest you. The Church is prudish and stuffy? I THINK NOT! Why would JPII teach this? It is not enough just to be open to life in sex. For JPII, mainly thinking about yourself in sex is a form of use and to love the other is to want to fill the beloved with happiness. That means the ONLY THING THAT GOD IS NOT OKAY WITH IN SEX IS USE AND SELFISHNESS. GOD CREATED PLEASURE AND WANTS IT ENJOYED IN MARRIAGE. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Fourth teaching: Judaism/Christianity is responsible, not The Notebook, for us wanting to find, “The One.”
Have you ever been confused whether you have a soulmate? Many say this is only in the movies, yet we watch movies like Sleepless in Seattle (for all the other oldies out there), The Notebook, etc and eat them up like hotcakes. You’ll be at a stop light and you look over and there will be some trucker dude singing his heart out to “Adore You” by Miley Cyrus. And behind all the tough guy talk, you know there is some Harley guy right now at home with a carton of ice cream and a box full of tissues watching one of these chick flicks. Why do we have the desire if it’s not really true? C.S. Lewis said that when a desire is universal, the object of desire exists. People universally desire for food, because the object of desire, food, exists. Same with LOVE and soul mates! Don’t believe me? Well lets go to the infallible Word of God. This is another thing about what is so great about being Catholic, this proof of a soulmate can only be found if you have a Catholic bible, because it comes from the book of Tobit (which is not found in the Protestant bible). Here is a quick description of Tobit. Tobit is an extremely righteous man, but his fellow Israelites were not. He was carried away in the Assyrian exile (around 721 BC) and brought to Nineveh. There he tried to serve God mightily, “…I remembered God with my whole heart (1:10).” The Assyrians would often kill the Israelites and leave them in the streets for humiliation. Tobit would sneak out at night and bury them, but one night he was caught, so he ran for his life. Years later, upon his return, he found another dead body and buried it and after he was done burying the body, he laid against a wall and mourned his and his peoples situation. Right at that moment, no lie, doves, sitting on top of the wall pooped and the poop landed in his eyes, causing blindness (ever think you’re having a “shitty” day?). Because of his blindness and inability to work, Tobit sent his son Tobias to a relative where he had stashed some money. Tobit sent Tobias to find a companion for the journey, and Tobias found someone named Azarias, who was really the archangel Raphael in disguise! God had a greater plan for Tobit and Tobias and Raphael reveals this to Tobias on the journey. Raphael said to Tobias, “We must stay this night in the home of Raguel…He has a daughter named Sarah…Now listen to me, brother, for she will become your wife…Do not be afraid, for she was DESTINED FOR YOU FROM ALL ETERNITY…When Tobias heard these things, he fell in love with her and yearned deeply for her (6:10,15,17).” But have you ever met someone who you can’t stop thinking about, yet they have some baggage? Well, Sarah’s baggage was that a demon was in love with her and it had killed 7 other men before Tobias, while trying to consummate their marriage with Sarah (she must have been one good looking girl). In fact, when Tobias meets Sarah and takes her up to consummate their marriage, her Dad presumes he’s a dead man and is outside digging his grave, so he can bury him quick (a girl who kills 7 lovers can get quite a reputation in a small town).
The prayer that comes from Tobias before he takes Sarah into bed is so great that it is read at almost every wedding. Tobias prays this, “O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of Lust, but with sincerity. Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.” This is one of the most beautiful prayers found in scripture. Tobias finds mercy and grows old with Sarah who was destined for him from eternity. God was willing to put Tobit through all this suffering, just to get Tobias to make the trip to Raguels that he would find Sarah. Love exists, a soulmate exists, and if you let God he will author your own love story, all that he needs is a willing heart that will take their beloved in love and not lust.
In conclusion. The Catholic Church is not where sex goes to die and become boring, but is the place it returns to its Author and gains its true identity, purpose, and life. Sex was authored by God, which means only He has the key to its greatness and He will keep your love from drowning in pornography and selfishness. If you let him, He will bring you to the one who he has destined for you since all of eternity, and your mission from God will be to love your beloved “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:4-6).”
My sexual ethics professor once said something I will never forget. He said that although most look at James Bond and think he’s the sexual Lebron James, with a new hot girl in almost every scene. He isn’t the person who is having the best sex, it’s people like the guy on Little House On a Prairie, who are having great sex. The guy on, Little House On a Prairie, knows his wife intimately, he knows what moves her, excites her and best of all his wife knows in her heart that he truly loves her. James Bond sees just a body to be used and statistics show selfish sex is the worst kind of sex and is, in fact, the antithesis of love. Bond carries on the tradition started long ago, by Lamech (Genesis 4:19), of treating women as objects of possessions instead of equals in love.
Love like God, not like James Bond, who once he grows old and his pecks turn into man boobs, is just left with a selfish heart and an empty life.