Catholic Sexual Ethics

Feminists Blame the Victim in an Explosive Sexual Assault Case

The Title IX world turned upside down when Avital Ronell, a “world renowned” lesbian New York University professor, was “found responsible” for ongoing physical and verbal sexual harassment of Nimrod Reitman, her male graduate student. Reitman, who identifies as gay and is now married to a man, claims that Ronell, age 66, refused to work [...]

Sin as an Offense Against the Body

"Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the impure person sins against the body itself." More than any other type of sin, St. Paul is suggesting that impurity is a sin against ourselves. A deep healing of such sins cannot be limited to a correction of external behavior, but must [...]

The Last Defender of Reason and the Human Body

G.K. Chesterton said, at the end of his fine biography The Dumb Ox, that Thomas Aquinas ought to be called “Saint Thomas of the Creation.” That is because Thomas defended the integrity, the beauty, the intelligibility, and the real and not notional existence of things, good old created things, fire and flood, flowers and grass, birds [...]

Why Private Sexual Vice is a Public Concern

One of the Holy Week events at my old school, Providence College, was a march in favor of a wide variety of sexual inclinations, all of them disordered by biological nature, and considered to be so also by the Catholic Church, which takes its lead in this regard from Scripture and from the doctrine taught [...]

Why Christian Sexual Morality is Rejected

There are good arguments for traditional Christian sexual morality (CSM), but even so it’s fallen out of favor. Many in the Church have given up on it, saying it’s at most an ideal no one can be held to. What would be needed to bring it back and make it effective? A complete answer seems [...]

Why Church Teachings on Chastity are Undeniably True

Many years ago, in one of the standard editions of The Tempest that I had ordered for my students, I read an angry little essay whose proximate target was the mage Prospero, and whose ultimate target was anyone alive, particularly men, who would uphold a view of sexual morality one or two steps higher than, [...]

The Nashville Statement and Why It Matters to Catholics

Just before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, a group of Evangelicals issued a statement reaffirming the ancient teachings of Christianity about homosexual practice, the definition of marriage, and transgenderism. Calling it “The Nashville Statement,” churchmen from a variety of evangelical traditions drafted a document aimed at catechizing the people of God. Hurricane Harvey quickly overwhelmed this [...]

Sex, Sanity, and Beliefs that “Live Loudly” Within Us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.”  ∼ Tocqueville, Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character. It’s this:  Americans place [...]

Is the Catholic Church in De Facto Schism?

Why is there confusion in the Catholic Church over Amoris Laetitia, and what consequences does it have for Church unity? I argue here that the confusion is ultimately over two de fide dogmas of Christian faith and that one consequence of the confusion is de facto schism within the Catholic Church. When de fide (“of the faith”) is used in Catholic [...]

Fatima, Marriage, and the Theology of the Body

It has been reported that Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote a letter to Cardinal Caffarra predicting that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Not long after, Pope John Paul II was in the midst of his famous “Theology of the Body” talks on [...]

Chastity, Communion, Heaven and Hell

Once regarded as a virtue, chastity is now largely considered a fool’s quest. Those perpetrating chastity’s demise depict its death as a victory for life and love. Yet the opposite is true; an unchaste world is one of self-absorption and death. In subordinating the procreational nature of sex to recreational purposes, an unchaste society will [...]

A Defense of the Christian Teaching Against Contraception

Forty-eight years ago this past July, our story reached a dramatic climax. But it began in the dawn of Christianity, with a document called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (or Didache). Written thirty to fifty years after Christ’s death, it gives the earliest evidence of a Christian condemnation of contraception. For the next 1900 years, it was the [...]

Why Words Matter When It Comes to Homosexuality

We can all agree that gaining understanding is at a premium when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. So what are we to make of (the words) "homosexual" and "gay"? Are these two words alike? Are they synonymous in meaning? Perhaps they are. Then again, there are such differences in people's minds when they [...]

Unnatural is the New Normal

In 1968, Pope Paul VI predicted that the widespread adoption of contraception would effectively sever the procreative and unitive purposes of sex in the popular mind and consequently lead to profound moral and sociological changes (see Humanae Vitae 17). British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe likewise argued that accepting the liceity of contraception would leave no principled [...]

An Alternative to Catholic Sexual Ethics?

The Catholic Church's teachings regarding sexual congress, marriage, and the family are clear and coherent. If you disagree with one or another of them, you place in jeopardy the entire edifice. Fine, say many people who urge us to get with the times as regards—and here you may fill in your preferred form of divorce, [...]

Adults Leave Millennials Clueless About Sex

If you’re in need of some comic relief this week, check out this piece from The Atlantic on “the sexually conservative Millennial.” In it, writer Emma Green sets out to show that Millennials (the generation of Americans presently between 18 and 35) are in fact far less libertine than is widely supposed. They are, in [...]

Is “Sexual Immorality” a Useful Concept?

The expression “sexual immorality” seems overly contentious to people today. To say someone has acted immorally is usually to say he’s acted in a way that’s morally repellent. But most people don’t feel that way about non-standard sexual activity. It’s not fornication, adultery, or sodomy that leaders of thought consider repellent, but the pharisaical judgmentalism [...]

Normality is Not Hatred

Very recently the view that homosexuality is entirely normal has become not only widespread but compulsory in secular public discussion. Leaders of thought tell us the change has been part of a general deepening of moral insight and improvement in the art of living. The older outlook oppressed millions out of fear, bigotry, and ignorance. [...]

On the Sexual Attitudes of Christian Same-Sex Marriage Supporters

As mainline Protestant denominations increasingly accept the ordination of gay clergy and publicly affirm same-sex unions, the sociologist in me wishes to understand what this development means for people in those denominations. I’m not talking about subtle linguistic shifts. While the difference between speaking of marriage as a “civil contract between a woman and a [...]

The Meaning of “Objectively Disordered”

There is widespread misunderstanding about what the Catholic Church teaches with regard to same-sex attraction. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding—which often construes the teaching as “offensive”—tends to isolate men and women who struggle with their sexual identity. They often feel ostracized at a time in their life when they need love from the people of God. This [...]

Protecting Your Child from the Dangers of College Life

A church friend of mine has a daughter going off to college in the fall. When I ran into him recently, I asked how the summertime preparations were going. I expected him to tell me they’d spent an afternoon trying to help her register for classes or a day at Target looking at tiny fridges [...]

MENU