The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


“Is pre-marital sex always wrong?”

posted by jmcgee

A study from CARA asked that question of Catholics and Protestants — and the resulting answers may surprise you:

In 1972, 39% of adult Catholics responded that premarital sex was “always wrong.” Among Catholics attending Mass at least once a week, 54% responded as such that year. In the most recent survey, conducted in 2008, only 14% of Catholics responded that premarital sex is “always wrong.” Among Catholics attending Mass at least once a week, 30% responded as such.

In other words, more than 70% of Church-going Catholics do not hold or agree to the teaching the Church and Scripture that premarital sex (fornication) is always wrong. Among Catholics who do not go to Mass the number is even higher at 86%.

And for Protestants?

Check this out:

For Church-going Protestants, the number of those who agree with the Biblical teaching on premarital sex is between 53 and 62%. For non-Church going Protestants the numbers are between 30 and 40%.

Read the rest, with some charts and analysis, here.



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Klaire

posted October 15, 2010 at 10:24 am


I’m not sure at what point ignorance (or denial) absolves objective moral sin, but the reality is, many of these “believers” also receive the Eucharist, as well as the many married couples using birth control.
Objectively, both are mortal sins, made only worse into a sacrilege by receiving the Eucharist.
I have been at a few masses where a priest had the courage to announce not to come up for communion if not in full communion with church teachings.



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jcd

posted October 15, 2010 at 10:45 am


Another “fruit” of Vatican II Modernism :-(



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Regina Faighes

posted October 15, 2010 at 10:47 am


In a word: “yes.”



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Marc

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:04 am


I venture to guess that the survey is a direct reflection on the failure to our Catholic clergy to address moral issues from the pulpit (which is a refection of the poor formation they receive in seminary).



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John S.

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:06 am


I suppose the answer to the question can be determined on who’s standards you are going by. God’s standards, no! Man’s standards, which are way lower, it a “mixed bag of tricks”. For example,this sums up catholicism:”O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.”
Saint Augustine (354 AD – 430 AD)



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John S.

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:09 am


P.S. God’s standards:It is always wrong for pre-marital sex. Edited version.



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Dev Thakur

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:19 am


“and the resulting answers may surprise you”
Who was surprised? When I read that, I told myself “if a majority of Mass attending Catholics say it’s always wrong, THEN I will be shocked.”



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ejcmartin

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:24 am


I like how they included “always” in the equation. This provides the modernist opportunity to rationalize sinful behaviour. “Our pre-marital sex wasn’t wrong because we really do love each other, even if we did just meet at the bar. Besides she is very lonely and she needs some affection. In fact it was an act of charity. That’s it! It was an act of charity, so that can’t be wrong can it?” Or something like that.



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Tom

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:32 am


What about adultery? Any chance that the majority of Catholics think adultery is always wrong? Surely there’s gotta be some exceptions for that! (like when a spouse burns a casserole or uses too much bleach) Geez Luize!!!



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Sager8

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:38 am


There is a major decline in morality through out the world.
I’d like to see how the Mormons would poll in the study-



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Panthera

posted October 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm


Unless sex is an expression of love within a committed relationship, it is wrong.
It’s that simple.
I suspect, if men could get pregnant, the value of sex between two people who are bound together through love and commitment would be enormously higher.



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Frank Weathers

posted October 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm


“And the great paradox is that unless the West recognizes humbly its own need of re-Christianization, the East will not be Christianized so easily.” — John C.H. Wu from Beyond East And West.



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RomCath

posted October 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm


“Unless sex is an expression of love within a committed relationship, it is wrong.”
To make it clearer, sex outside of the marriage of a man and a woman is always objectively wrong.



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foxfan6

posted October 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm


The short answer is “yes;” but I cannot believe some of the comments here. Someone makes a statement out of the blue and you people jump on it like white on rice. Some of you are so gullible. By the way, who or what is CARA?
“Among Catholics who do not go to Mass the number is even higher at 86%.” Catholics who do not go to Mass are really not Catholic anyway. If you refuse to follow the rules, you cannot call yourself Catholic.
Premarital sex, adultery; they are both what they used to call “mortal” sins, and if you commit one of those as a Catholic, you are required to confess that sin before next receiving communion; but beyond the moral issues of those sins, they are also typically emotionally and psychologically damaging, which is probably why God does not want us messing with those sins to begin with.
What does love have to do with it? In my state, it is a crime for a girl under the age of 18 to have sex with a boy over 21; even if it is claimed to be consensual. It is automatically considered statutory rape; so even secular law, at times, looks down on premarital sex.
By the way, I agree with the entire response of ejcmartin: “I like how they included “always” in the equation.”



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Panthera

posted October 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm


RomCath,
Your animus is showing. Can’t we just once have a discussion without provoking a food fight? It’s not as though there is anyone left here who doesn’t know the real reason for that comment.



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RomCath

posted October 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm


I am simply pointing out that your statement condones adultery, fornication and homosexual sex which are clearly not right according to the scriptures.
According to Catholic teaching (I believe this is still a Catholic blog) your statement is wrong. No fight intended. If the Deacon disagrees with my statement he can say so or delete it.
[RomCath…of course, you are correct. Panthera has his own ideas about sin, which I think we all know are a bit different from the Church’s. Dcn. G.]



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RomCath

posted October 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm


“Premarital sex, adultery; they are both what they used to call “mortal” sins,”
I think they still are called that. I don’t recall it being changed.



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RomCath

posted October 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm


Panthera, in addition, the survey said clearly “pre-marital” sex. A committed relationship does not a marriage make. Two people cohabitating may be in a “committed realtionship” but not necessarily a marriage.



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Dolly

posted October 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm


Maybe, the question: “Is pre-marital sex always wrong?” needs re-phrasing? Are there instances where pre-marital sex are sometimes right?



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm


Dolly…
You’d have a hard time finding a faithful Catholic moral theologian who would say there are times when pre-martial sex is “sometimes right.”
You can become acquainted with the teaching of the Catholic Church on this subject at this link.
Dcn. G.



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Jeff

posted October 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm


Dolly – “Are there instances where pre-marital sex are sometimes right?”
Short answer – No. Longer answer – Heck no.



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Panthera

posted October 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm


I suggest, when nearly four out of five Catholics don’t see this matter as the Church does, then perhaps the manner in which the Church deals with those who are not in conformity with this teaching is inadequate to the task at hand?
It is well and good to snap at Dolly, “heck no”, or to focus on the one area of disagreement we have on the issue, but will that method of argument actually achieve anything?
When one of my dogs runs out into the road and nearly gets hit – doesn’t happen often, but still, puppies are what they are – I absolutely do not yell at it and make clear that, should it come back, it is really going to GET IT.
Nope, I grab the sugar cubes (or even chocolate and yes, I know, I can even draw the theobromine formula if you like, but carrots don’t register with puppies) in my pocket, put on my sweetest most seductive voice and body language and get the dratted dawg out of the street before it gets hit. I then control my fear and anger because the only thing worse than a dog who has run out into traffic is a dog who is afraid to come back to you.
The answers I’m seeing her don’t strike me as the kind which will reverse a four to one trend.



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Marcel LeJeune

posted October 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm


I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but I am not. Working in campus ministry means I see the results of such a culture all the time. The Church is to blame, certainly, but parents bear the brunt of the blame as the primary educators of their children. We need a reform in parenting.
By the time I get them, I can run circles around their arguments for sex – as I did here – http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2010/10/is-pre-marital-sex-always-sin.html
But, it makes no difference if they won’t listen.



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RomCath

posted October 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm


“when nearly four out of five Catholics don’t see this matter as the Church does, then perhaps the manner in which the Church deals with those who are not in conformity with this teaching is inadequate to the task at hand?”
How does the Church deal with them? They aren’t burned at the stake are they?
The Deacon’s citation from the Catholic Catechism spells out what the Church teaches about human sexuality. If people don’t see the matter as the Church does, that is not the Church’s problem it is theirs. They have to answer for it but they can’t claim ignorance. People have free will. Even God doesn’t force us to keep the commandments.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm


Pan…
Just because a majority of people think they should be allowed to do something, in certain circumstances, and without any consequences, doesn’t mean it’s right.
Dcn. G.



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Panthera

posted October 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm


Deacan Kandra,
I thoroughly agree with you – I was torn to shreds for insisting that Christians were forbidden to torture here on many threads while a large number of my fellow Christians thought this was a valid exception.
I am not, however, arguing in favor of abandoning the position of the Church here – you asked me not to – I am, speaking as both an experienced teacher and reasonably successful breeder and trainer – making the observation that if Catholics have gone from 2 in 3 to now 4 in 5 who don’t agree with Church teaching, then perhaps the Church needs to reconsider how to present that teaching.
After all, however we may disagree on this one topic, I am a firm advocate of sex exclusively within marriage. I was trying to avoid a term which would set off a contra-productive discussion, much good that did….
I don’t recall ever once making it through a semester without at least one student at our university trying (and often enough completing) suicide over a ‘love affair’ or what those more or less children thought was such. I’m very much in agreement on this and I think the question deserves a fair discussion.
RomCath, I thought the purpose of the Roman Catholic church was to spread the word of God’s gift of forgiveness to us for our unpardonable sins and to support us in striving to be less sinful. I did, after all, chose not to be confirmed as I couldn’t in all honesty…but that did seem to be a big part of what we were taught. Maybe that’s different in the American Catholic church?



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Cousin Kevin

posted October 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm


Sex outside of marriage is always a sin. God gave us the beautiful plan for sex where we are offered the opportunity join with him in the act of creating a new life. Wow. When we chose our own selfish desires over those of our God we deny him–we sin. the Churches teaching mirrors God’s plan and attempts to amplify it into a wolrd that becomes more self-seeking and relativeist. If more Catholics would seek to read the documents on human sexuality they could quickly see the reverence for our God given sexuality that our church actual has. It should come as no surprise that more protestants understand that premartial sex is sin for they generally have a richer appreciation ofthe bible and its teaching. To many Catholics seem to beleive that our leaders just make this stuff up to keep us from enjoying life.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm


The problem is that the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality does not match the reality that most Catholics have experienced.
The reality is that sex has changed, but the Church has not. Thanks to improved nutrition and general health, humans are naturally far more fertile than they have ever been in history. As a result, women can bear far more surviving children than they are capable of taking care of. This general hyperfertility created a demand for reliable birth control. (Sorry, but NFP is only reliable if you get it right, which is easier said than done. Furthermore, if there is anything irregular about the woman’s cycle, then “getting it right” means abstinence.) In other words, due to hyperfertility, children are no longer a “gift from God”, but a condition that couples must prudently manage.
Once children become an optional part of the sexual relationship, then sexual morality must be rethought. Biblical sexual morality is based on the idea that sex produces children. The Church rightfully understands this. However, the Church chooses to bury its head in the sand instead of recognizing how and why this happened and how to adapt to the changing world. As such, the Church has no credibility on sexual issues with most Catholics and 80% of Catholics are not listening.



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Dolly

posted October 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm


My goodness, I think you all need to re-examine my post. I did not say I believe in pre-marital sex; I was only questioning how some questions, such as this, are phrased. Pre-marital sex is always wrong, so why ask if it is always wrong? The statement and supposition, “..if it is always wrong” connotes that there might be another side to it- that it might not always be wrong. Believe me, I am a Catholic and a Christian, and a true adherent of the Magesterium of the Church. It might be good, at times, to pore over some statements and examine first the intent, rather than jump into conclusion. God bless you all always.



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Jeff

posted October 15, 2010 at 7:11 pm


Pan,
Did you ever think that perhaps your “sugar cube” approach contributes to problems like this? I’m not advocating for “the beatings will continue until moral improves” pastoral method either. But for too long priests and bishops have failed to call this kind of moral failing what it is: objective mortal sin, and mortal sin is a complete break of one’s relationship with God and a complete absence of any sanctifying grace. Even though they know the truth they become afraid of driving someone off if the teachings are “too hard to take”.
Now whether or not an individual is given the carrot or the stick depends on the unique pastoral situation, but in either case the Church should not shy away from her objective teachings. Just as our Lord showed us in John 6, we should proclaim the loving truths of the Church because they are the means by which we live “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. But if these truths are too hard to take by a hard heart then so be it. We can’t water it down and we can’t chase after them until they make the turn to come back.



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Jeff

posted October 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm


Dolly,
I understood your post the way you intended and didn’t mean to “snap” at you (as Pan supposes). I apologize for not clarifying.



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Dana MacKenzie

posted October 15, 2010 at 7:20 pm


“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” – Chesterton



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RomCath

posted October 15, 2010 at 7:42 pm


“RomCath, I thought the purpose of the Roman Catholic church was to spread the word of God’s gift of forgiveness to us for our unpardonable sins and to support us in striving to be less sinful.”
The purpose of the Church is to proclaim God’s kingdom and part of that is to preach the forgiveness of sins. God’s mercy is always available to those who admit their sin and say they are sorry and have a purpose of amendment. It is always there for those who seek it. Sadly many do not.
Because many RCs in the survey don’t find pre-marital sex always wrong does not make it so.
As for whyiamnolonger–do you think the church should change what is holds as truth simply because people don’t accept it? They should change eternal truths to “adapt to a changing world”? How preposterous.



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Panthera

posted October 15, 2010 at 7:48 pm


Jeff,
I am not advocating sugar or chocolate. I am merely noting that the consequence of showing my anger and fear towards a puppy who has strayed out onto the road is likely to be the puppy’s horrible death.
If I am fortunate enough to catch him and then beat him within an inch of his life, he won’t come back to me the next time, even for a rib-eye steak or “lady dog” in heat.
Humans aren’t puppies and when I sat on the ethics committee of my university, I always voted to fire professors who ‘played’ with the female students, always insisted we ex-matriculate students who cheated on their first charge.
You are right – “the beatings will continue until moral improves” approach strikes me as useless. There are a couple of commentators here who practice it against me and that surely hasn’t worked.
So what is there to be done?
Well, one thing occurs to me. I am sure that one reason my marriage (we’ve been together for over 27 years now) is so happy is because both of us had parents who were good Christians who modeled successful marriage. His first marriage – his wife died in childbirth – was also happy.
So, we have the family. That is important – especially during the horrible, difficult teen years.
Second, it would be very useful if the Catholic church had more people like Cardinal Fisichella working in outreach programs. He has the ‘common touch’ which Blessed John 23 had. A “Roncalli” Kolleg, or home for wayward youth, or soup kitchen or or or is to be found throughout Europe in practically every town, especially in the not so Catholic Christian regions. “Paul III” is not, however, a name I often see on youth and charitable Catholic institutions.
Third, and here B16 has taken great steps forward, the Church must do a vastly better job of cleaning up the scandals. They have done enormous damage to her ability to project moral authority.
Finally, this is one area where maybe, just maybe, it would be useful to drop the culture war approach of ‘you’re %100 on my side or my bitterest enemy’.
Goodness, I’m here pleading for not having sex outside of marriage and because my Christian faith permits my marriage and the Church doesn’t, I’m being thoroughly raked over the coals. That is going to advance the Christian argument exactly how?
If I were a highly procedure bound Catholic, I’d be even more concerned by the ‘shoot first, take no prisoners’ response which Dolly got. Goodness, she’s on your side, 100%, but it doesn’t take much of that warm and friendly response and soon the only people left are the ones beating you until you do get happy. See Paul III, above.
Finally – let’s go back to the chocolate and sugar. What did the shepherd do about the lost lamb who was found? What about the prodigal son? When I see the responses here towards me, I can well imagine how a child caught out in the sin of pre-marital sex is not quite going to get the impression the Church loves him or her. I don’t want that puppy growing up afraid to come to me, not ever. Especially when it knows it has done something wrong.



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Dolly

posted October 15, 2010 at 7:58 pm


Thank you, Jeff, for understanding my position. I accept your apology and feel deeply humbled. Thanks so much.



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Adam

posted October 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm


@ Romcath
Well said, and completly true, of course.



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Adam

posted October 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm


Sorry for the double post.
“Furthermore, if there is anything irregular about the woman’s cycle, then “getting it right” means abstinence.)” – WhyIamnolongercatholic
So your saying practicing the virtue of Temperance, one of the four cardinal virtues… is a bad thing? You mean simply cause people want sex right now? And thus, the Catholic Church is out of date?
I think your logic is flawed. You make a good point about women being more fertile, and being able to bear more children than they can look after – but doesn’t that actually INCREASE the Church’s truth on the issue?
I mean, come on. Whats the best way to avoid a child? Abstinence. What does abstinence serve to do? Allows us to practice temperance. I mean, to anyone who is serious about practicing the faith, this seems like a win-win situation.
You know as well as I do the entire point of Birth Control technologies is so that people can have sex without fearing the consequences. However, birth control stops from producing life, which is point A of sex, which is wrong, and it also means people will no longer have to control themselves. No control = a recede into beastlike ways, where sex and pleasure is all that is thought about.
And, as can be seen from today’s world, where you just have to turn on the TV, hop onto the net, or open a magazine to see that what I have just described is becoming the case.
God, seeing all this, made certain rules so his creations, whom He loves tenderly, would be able to use sex for good, for the correct purposes, in the correct ways. Thats why all other “types” of sex are wrong to… other types *shudder*. Products of sick and twisted minds, right there.
And to call the Church outdated, you’d have to call God outdated. Which is really and truly impossible.
This argument is over. Thanks for trying though.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm


“They should change eternal truths to “adapt to a changing world”? How preposterous.”
If reality changes and the Church remains constant, then it follows the Church will become disconnected from reality.
Different circumstances call for different courses of action. We recognize this in the business world: Forty years ago, a fax machine was a luxury, twenty years ago, a necessity, but today, only a fool would buy one because their are better ways of doing the same thing. The reality of the business world changed, therefore, proper practices had to change as well. Even supposedly unchanging principles such as customer service are dependent on business culture and customer expectations.
So, what does business have to do with theology? When reality changes, people’s view of God changes and any institution that claims to speak for God must adapt to this change. The printing press changed the world. The Church’s failure to properly adapt led to the Protestant Reformation. Copernicus reoriented the universe and Galileo proved him right. The Church’s initial refusal to recognize this truth was not one of their better moments, to put it mildly.
Once again, the Church is failing to adapt to a changing reality. The underlying assumption in all of these posts, and in the Church’s teaching is that the nature of the sex act is constant and has been since the garden. In fact, John Paul II explicitly looked to the garden for the start of his teachings on sex. But he was looking in the wrong direction. Instead of trying to recreate Eden, he should have been looking at the meaning and the reality of sex as it is in the modern world, then come up with proper teachings to deal with that reality. Indeed, the world suffers from not having a proper moral voice that deals with sex in the modern world. We need an alternative to the “thou shalt not” of the Church and the “just do it” of popular culture.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm


“You know as well as I do the entire point of Birth Control technologies is so that people can have sex without fearing the consequences. However, birth control stops from producing life, which is point A of sex, which is wrong, and it also means people will no longer have to control themselves. No control = a recede into beastlike ways, where sex and pleasure is all that is thought about.”
By that same logic, cars are bad because people can travel significant distances without getting any exercise. No exercise, then people will become obese and unhealthy. Even though all of this is true, the idea of condemning the automobile is absurd.
Why is something that makes our lives better and more convenient evil? Does the Church condemn the microwave oven because microwaved food is not as good as that which is slow cooked?
Is birth control really point A of sex? You do realize that people have sex after menopause and after conception is impossible. Yet the Church does not condemn this. Apparently temperance only applies to the fertile.
Indeed, your love of “temperance” and your fear of “beastlike ways” shows that all the “new” teaching on sex is no more than window dressing for the same old “thou shalt not”.



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Adam

posted October 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm


“Indeed, your love of “temperance” and your fear of “beastlike ways” shows that all the “new” teaching on sex is no more than window dressing for the same old “thou shalt not”.
Am I denying that? Far as I am concerned, there is no new teaching of sex – the teaching has always been the same, yet the methods or preposing it have changed.
“By that same logic, cars are bad because people can travel significant distances without getting any exercise. No exercise, then people will become obese and unhealthy. Even though all of this is true, the idea of condemning the automobile is absurd.
Again, this logic is flawed. You are not distinguishing between what is necessary and what is not.
Sex is essential insofar as it produces children, which continues the existance of the human race. Once this is taken out of the equation that is sex, sex no longer becomes necessary.
Automobiles are for more necessary than sex which does not lead to children. They allow us to cover great distances in short periods of time. If I am asked to visit my cousins, who live an hour away by me travelling at 100km/h, it would take me perhaps a day of straight travelling to reach them. Seems like a waste of time to me, though the exercise would be great! Instead however, I can visit them, spend time there, be back, say my prayers, perhaps take time to go to Mass, and do some exercise of my own, like going for a jog. As you can clearly see, using automobiles for the purposes they were designed – to cover long distances, is reasonable. A moral theologion could argue it is wrong to use an automobile to go somewhere that is 5 min by walk. I mean seriously? Thats sloth.
The pros of “sex anytime we want” consists of “it feels good”. The main purpose of it has been defeated by birth control. Just like using an automobile to travel 5 min walking distance is sloth, having sex anytime we want is intemperate. And thats what happens when you take the main purpose out of something.
Another point I forgot to mention last time is that sex, especially if we are untempered, becomes addictive. You start wanting it, really, really badly, till you get it. Then it goes away. And comes back, stronger. The cycle repeats, and the lust within you becomes more powerful each time. Thats something that doesn’t happen by using automobiles or microwave food.
“Why is something that makes our lives better and more convenient evil? Does the Church condemn the microwave oven because microwaved food is not as good as that which is slow cooked?”
What may seem better and more convient to us may not necessarly be so in truth. Like I said, untempered sex leads to what I have decribed above. And as for microwave food, Christ did say not to worry about what goes into a man – its what comes out of one that is an evil. And one of the things he mentioned was lust.
Again, thanks for trying.



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Adam

posted October 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm


“Is birth control really point A of sex? You do realize that people have sex after menopause and after conception is impossible. Yet the Church does not condemn this. Apparently temperance only applies to the fertile.”
I forgot to address this, sorry. Temperance applies to everybody, fertile, infertile, man or woman. I understand that after menopause and after conception is impossible. And though a married couple having sex during these times is legit (within reason, or course), because they are not stopping the potentiality for life from occuring intentionally, the Church STILL encourages temperance, so that we have control over ourselves.
Quite frankly, I’d rather control my desires for anything and everything then them controlling me.



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Klaire

posted October 15, 2010 at 10:31 pm


WhyIamnolongercatholic, honestly, I don’t know where to start, or even if you are really as ignorant of church teaching as your appear.
In the event that you really left the church for your above stated reasons, the reality is, it wasn’t the Catholic Church that you left, rather a distortion of what you “think” the church teaches. You simply couldn’t be more wrong in your “assumptions.”
For starters, the church IS REALITY. The whole point of having a “guiding church” is as Chesterton said, “We need a church that is right when the world is wrong.”
In the chance that you really would be interested in what and why the CC actually teaches, you might want to pick up a copy of Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed, as well as a book on JPII’s Theology of the Body. At least if you are going to leave the faith, or have left it I guess in your case, give yourself the benefit of knowing what you are actually leaving, as you appear to be totally clueless.
God Bless!



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Emily

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm


Is it wrong for a non-Catholic to engage in premarital sex? Do Catholic rules apply to people who are not Catholic?
Everyone always talks about, well such and such really can’t take communion, have their child baptized, get married in the church because such and such sin. So, if they aren’t Catholics, is it wrong for them to do whatever sins Catholics say they have committed?
Perhaps I am getting too cerebral…



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Adam

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:33 pm


@ Emily
That is a deep question, and it requires a lot of thought.
However, allow me to outline some of the basic principles involved.
The basic answer is, yes, the rules of Catholicism apply to everyone. As the Church is beacon of light and truth in the world, and the truth She professes is eternal, it is evident that the rules must apply to everyone.
That means the Church’s rules on premartial sex apply to all non-catholics also, because it isn’t simply an opinion – its a truth.
The question therefore is not so much “do the rules apply?” as it is “what happens to the people who do not follow the rules? Are they excused? Are they not?”
Its a hard thing to judge, but I’ll give a few basic pointers.
Point 1 is ignorance. Do the people in question know the Church’s teaching on the matter? Take premartial sex for example (it seems appropriate).If a person has never heard, at all, of the Church’s teaching of the matter, never picked up a Bible, never encountered the topic in a conversation with some in their entire lives, than that person is known as “ignorant”. And no one can be judged based on ignorance – after all, you cannot possibly be expected to follow what you don’t know.
As a side note here, there would be some people that would reference God’s teaching in the hearts of men. A quick explaination will suffice. The Church teaches that God has written certain rules on the hearts of all mankind, and that they are therefore universal. Not to murder is one example. I would say 99.9999 recurring, if not 100 percent of people know this within their hearts. However, premartial sex is not one of these rules, unfortunatly.
Back to what I was saying. It has often been said that we are judged based upon what we know. Therefore, if we are ignorant, we cannot be judged. If we are not, we are judged on what we know. Thus, if the person has heard, somewhere, somehow, that premartial sex is incorrect, they now have a choice – accept it or reject it. If they reject it, this rejection becomes more serious depending on HOW MUCH THEY KNOW. For example, in my above posts, I have outlined the danger of premartial sex, meaning I have fairly good knowledge on the topic. Thus, if I was to act against that, and have premartial sex, use birth control, etc, I would be in a much more serious state of trouble than someone who does so, having basically heard that it is wrong, but unclear of the reasons of why not.
So yes, whoever commits premartial sex commits a sin. But the gravity of the sin depends on the knowledge that the person has of the issue. Less knowledge = less responsibility.
However, we also have a responsibility to gain knowledge about God’s rules and Church teachings – if we knowingly neglect learning them because we want to remain ignorant so we can do what we want without suffering consequences, we will be judged on that. God doesn’t miss things.
As for such and such taking communion, the gravity of the sin commited depends on the persons knowledge of the sacraments. Does the person know that the bread that they just ate was Christ Himself? If so, do they accept or reject it? If they reject it, why? Non-belief? Hostile feelings toward? etc. etc. If they have some form of knowledge whatsoever, they will be judged based on that. Thus, if a person takes communion knowing that the Church believes it is Christ, but reject it themselves based on it being a little to unbelieveble for them, they sin – but not as gravely as someone who harbours hostile feelings towards the Church’s beliefs, and takes it cause their mum/dad/whoever wants them too.
As you can see, its a complex topic – and it serves to emphasise one more point – God alone is the worthy judge of men. Only He could possibly the exact specifications of everything I have just said.



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Aaron

posted October 15, 2010 at 11:37 pm


Emily,
You are not getting too cerebral.
The question you ask deals with relativism, and assumes that truth is relative. That claim is categorically false, for if truth is relative, then truth changes, and if truth changes, it ceases to be truth. (However, our PERCEPTION of the truth can change…for example, the Earth was always oblong, but the more we studied the earth, the more out perception of the truth changed.) Thus, truth must be absolute, the same for everyone everywhere (just because some people believed the earth to be flat doesn’t mean it actually was).
Christ proclaimed Himself the Truth (“I am the Way, the Truth…”), and He gave His authority to His Apostles (“Just as the Father has sent Me,so I am sending you.”) Those apostles ordained bishops to proclaim the whole of the Gospel, including moral directives. Thus, the Church is Christ’s voice on earth, and as Christ was the absolure Truth, so too are the moral pronouncements the Church makes. Christ is Lord of All whether we believe it or not. Fornication is wrong for all, whether we believe it or not.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 16, 2010 at 12:48 am


“Am I denying that? Far as I am concerned, there is no new teaching of sex – the teaching has always been the same, yet the methods or preposing it have changed.”
At least you are honest, which is more than I can say for a lot of people.
“For starters, the church IS REALITY. The whole point of having a “guiding church” is as Chesterton said, “We need a church that is right when the world is wrong.””
I used to think that myself when I was younger, but then I realized that the Catholic Church is as flawed as any other human institution. They have done admirable things to be sure, but they are not what they claim to be.
Faith cannot determine reality any more than Catholic dogma can make the sun revolve around the earth.
“In the chance that you really would be interested in what and why the CC actually teaches, you might want to pick up a copy of Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed, as well as a book on JPII’s Theology of the Body.”
You assume that if I knew what the Catholic Church taught I would agree with it. You are wrong.
I am somewhat familiar with Theology of the Body. The problem with TOB is not that it treats sex as wrong or dirty, but that it sentimentalizes it. For all the poetic talk and idealism, it still boils down to the same old “thou shalt not”. Does it really make a difference if sex is degraded or if it is put on a pedestal as long as it still inaccessible.
The problem with Catholic teaching is that it refuses to recognize the good of sex for pleasure alone. They teach that it is immoral to remove the possibility of procreation, even if procreation is impossible. But the reality is that sex is good. Sexual pleasure within a committed relationship is good. (I could write volumes about how marriage has changed since biblical times, but I digress.) Pleasurable sex tends to strengthen the relationship. However, reproduction is not always prudent or desirable. The Catholic Church leaves couples in this situation with a cruel choice: Strain your relationship through abstinence or strain it through reproduction. While at one time these were the only viable options, it is no longer so. Technology has solved the problem. To continue to enforce the old rules makes about as much sense as banning the microwave oven or the automobile.



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RomCath

posted October 16, 2010 at 7:59 am


“The problem with Catholic teaching is that it refuses to recognize the good of sex for pleasure alone”
Well that about sums it up. Yes, the Church does teach that conjugal love is an expression of love in the context of marriage. Too often people think the Church teaches that sex is dirty–read the parts of the Cathechism as nothing could be further from the truth.
Sex for pleasure alone is adolescent and perhaps ok in the animal world but not for those who believe that conjugal love is something sacred.



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Panthera

posted October 16, 2010 at 9:02 am


I see quite a few statements – some involving circular reasoning – as to how pre-marital sex is wrong.
That is really not controversial or under dispute within the Roman Catholic church. I doubt there are very many of those 4 out of 5 who genuinely are unaware of this.
What I have not seen much of here, except for rejection of the one or other particular approach (sugar cubes, beating fellow Christians until their mood improves) or rejection of responsibility for the matter at all (it’s not the job of the Church to go out and help people to stop sinning, they must come to the Church) is a set of concrete, realistic suggestions as to how to effect a positive change.
Personally, I suspect that a church which aggressively cleans up its own house is going to achieve de facto recognition as a moral authority. B16 surely did not envision his last years spent exposing such evil, I give him great credit for tackling a project which must, at times, seem akin to cleaning out the Augean stables.
I note that many if not those here who are least inclined to question any action of the Church, ever in the last 2,000 years are also those who don’t exactly express themselves in a manner which would motivate people who do share their unquestioning belief. Or faith – I am not trying to start a fight. There are a lot of Christians who will value the word of B16 more highly for his efforts at cleaning up this mess.
I guess I’m in a minority here for thinking that.
It might, also, help, if there were a degree of consistency in the way those closely associated with the Church approach public figures and their actions. I can cite, verbatim, disparaging comments on certain public figures and politicians. These quotes were highly negative, condemnatory and based on sound Catholic teaching.
I could also cite several direct statements of support for politicians and public figures who have done exactly the same things (or worse) (repeatedly) as those public figures/politicians condemned, which gloss over these violations of Church teaching completely and praise them effusively for their obvious usefulness in advancing a political goal.
People understand the difference. They grasp the self-serving nature of turning a blind eye (or two, fingers in the ears and sealed lips) toward the one and not toward the other. This debases, again in the eyes of those who do not have perfect faith, many arguments.
I apologize for the choppy nature of the above paragraphs – I took out names and examples as, here too, I’m trying hard to avoid a fight.
The sex drive is very strong. I don’t think one can counter it at a time when so many teens are well fed and contraception is widely available by simply pronouncing what we all – they, too – know is the position of the Church.



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Panthera

posted October 16, 2010 at 9:05 am


who do NOT share their unquestioning belief. My apologies – by the time I had all the politicians who change wives like I buy cell phones removed, my sentences were no longer quite round.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 16, 2010 at 9:11 am


“Sex for pleasure alone is adolescent and perhaps ok in the animal world but not for those who believe that conjugal love is something sacred.”
Yes, that pretty much does sum it up.
Just to be clear, when I say sex for “pleasure alone”, this means any sex where the couple has taken steps to make reproduction impossible or unlikely. The Catholic Church teaches that to do such a thing is sinful.
Why is this sex “adolescent”? The Catholic Church has no good answers. Why is non-procreative sex that an artificially infertile couple enjoys immoral, but non-procreative sex that a naturally infertile couple enjoys holy and sacred? Once again, the Catholic Church has no good answers. The Catholic Church sanctifies not the entire sexual relationship of the couple, but a certain type of fertility fetish.
So how did we get here? I think the Catholic Church understood the social implications of reliable birth control far better than most people give them credit for. But instead of undergoing the difficult task of dealing with the new world that reliable artificial birth control created, they stuck their heads in the sand and decided to be Amish on this one issue. They did this in large part because to do otherwise would be to admit that they had been wrong. The Catholic Church’s definition of themselves means that it is impossible to ever admit error on an issue of faith or morals. But the fact that they won’t do it doesn’t make them right.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 16, 2010 at 9:29 am


Why…
Read some of what is at this link, beginning at section 2360. It lays out concisely the Church’s teaching: that sex between a husband and wife needs to be open to the possibility of life, and conform to natural law. Sex is obviously designed to be pleasurable — but for a reason that extends far beyond just mutual enjoyment.
In Church teaching, “non-procreative sex that a artificially infertile couples enjoys” is considered immoral because it is, in fact, artificial.
Dcn. G.



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Panthera

posted October 16, 2010 at 9:57 am


I sometimes wonder if we all have forgotten just why Vatican II was called.
The lines have hardened, the term “heretic” and “apostate” is flung with an ease which would have scandalized an earlier generation.
And still, four out of five Catholics are not in agreement with Church teachings on the matter.
Maybe it is time to look at what the Church may do to better explain her conclusions? It is not a good sign, at all, when the only allies she finds in the culture wars are Mormons and a Christian sect founded to keep Negroes 3/5 human…both groups embodying nearly everything which the Church, on other issues, so rightly rejects.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 16, 2010 at 11:37 am


In Church teaching, “non-procreative sex that a artificially infertile couples enjoys” is considered immoral because it is, in fact, artificial.
Yet not all things artificial are immoral. Aspertame is not immoral. Polyester is not immoral.
For example, Diet Coke is not as good as sugar sweetened Coke, but this does not make Diet Coke immoral. It is no sin to enjoy my cola and only have one calorie worth of consequence. The Catholic Church’s position is analogous to one where sugar is an inherent part of cola and that the attempt to separate the great cola taste from the high caloric content of the sugar is a sin.
Likewise, even assuming that “artificial” sex is not as good as non-artificial sex, it does not follow that “artificial” sex is immoral. The problem is that the proposition at Section 2366 that “it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life” can neither be supported objectively nor can it be changed without altering the theology of the institution of the Catholic Church. The sanctification of sex was thought up in an attempt to buttress what is a rather weak moral position.
By declaring itself infallible, the Catholic Church painted itself into a corner that will inevitably lead to its decline. And people wonder why the pews are so empty?



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Mike L

posted October 16, 2010 at 11:52 am


Deacon Greg,
I find it enlightening that when I was married married many years ago, the Church’s teaching was that all forms of contraception was immoral. While permitted for short periods of time, even what is now called NFP was considered immoral unless it was for emergency reasons such as health, or possibly economic reasons. So far as I can see the Church has made a radical change in its teachings over the last 60 years.
One point that I find disturbing as a physicist is that science now pretty well sees time as a dimension. If this is part of reality, then a barrier in time is no different than a barrier in space. As such NFP becomes a condom in time, and as such is a deliberate barrier to fertility, every bit as artificial as a condom. This would lead me back to the teaching that I grew up with, that all forms of contraception are immoral. It seems to me that either the current teaching is in opposition to its earlier teaching or its fundamental assumptions are wrong.



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Panthera

posted October 16, 2010 at 11:56 am


WhyIamnolongerCatholic,
I think the Roman Catholic church gets out of the painted in corner by attributing the “error” to one of interpretation through an application of logic which is, at time, daunting.
It’s a conundrum, certainly. My lengthy business trip to Europe is drawing to a close and one of the things I shall miss the most upon my return to the US is going to be the quite joy of slipping into a church – which in this area is nearly always Catholic – and being able to quietly pray.
Or to attend a Roman Catholic Mass (no, RomCath and RomanCrusader, you needn’t fear – I never present myself as anything but a nonCatholic there) and enjoy the Latin without the political overtones.
Or to spend time with former colleagues, Jesuits who very much respect my marriage, though they don’t consider it valid in the sense of the Sacrament, yet also without feeling the need to draw every single discussion on every single issue into a hatefest, thinly disguised as ‘concern’ for my soul.
Soon it will be back to the land of Dixie. I can choose between Know-Nothings (only a total ignorance of history makes it possible for the Catholic church in the US to regard the heirs of those bigots as their allies), the Mormon heresy (you, too, can be your own gen-u-whine Jesus with your own planet to terrorize, just step right up.), gentle Black churches which have a combined income of all 500 parishioners equal to what I spend each year on my hobby of breeding…and who find my too-white face an embarrassment or take the several hour trip whenever possible to Atlanta to find a church where we are welcome as fellow Christians.
In the end, it may well be that the purity of the remaining 1/5 trumps the flawed seeking of the other 4/5 and they ultimately change the error of their ways. More likely, I think, is that the Church will grow smaller and smaller and more and – if the beatings until moral is restored one so often finds on blogs are any sign – less and less welcoming.



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pagansister

posted October 16, 2010 at 11:57 am


Right or wrong in the eyes of the church, I’ve known several Catholics who were married in the church who were not only having “pre-marital sex” but living together, ( one couple even attended the pre-marital classes done by the church, before they married) and one couple who had a 2 year old, when they married in the huge main Cathedral downtown, with their daughter as part of the wedding. Life goes on.



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Emily

posted October 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm


I think what I was getting at when I asked if premarital sex is wrong for those who are not Catholic or even Christian has more to do with the consequences. Will the hell of an atheist couple who had premarital sex be more fiery than for a Catholic couple that had premarital sex? Will they be better off in the after-life if they wait to have sex until marriage? What should stop non-Catholics/ Christians from having premarital sex if they are going to Hell anyways?



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 16, 2010 at 7:06 pm


That’s an interesting question, Emily.
From the catechism:
1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.
1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.
I suspect atheists might fall under the category of “unintentional ignorance.”
Dcn. G.



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Klaire

posted October 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm


Dcn Greg that always leads to the classic question: Then why even tell others of their sins, especially the ones who are most unlikely to ever reform, being that the gravity increases with knowledge?
I realize this isn’t a moral theology blog, but this stuff is always interesting. It’s my understanding that even if a person is not aware of his/her sin, their sinful act still is sin upon the world and is in need of reparation.



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Adam

posted October 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm


“Just to be clear, when I say sex for “pleasure alone”, this means any sex where the couple has taken steps to make reproduction impossible or unlikely. The Catholic Church teaches that to do such a thing is sinful.
Why is this sex “adolescent”? The Catholic Church has no good answers. Why is non-procreative sex that an artificially infertile couple enjoys immoral, but non-procreative sex that a naturally infertile couple enjoys holy and sacred? Once again, the Catholic Church has no good answers. The Catholic Church sanctifies not the entire sexual relationship of the couple, but a certain type of fertility fetish.”
This idea comes from Natural Law, as philosophy dictates. All actions are directed to some sort of end, i.e. food for eating to stay alive, water for drinking to stay alive, etc. Every single action has some sort of primary end attatched to it.
Now, the Church teaches that any action committed when seperated from its primary end for the mere purpose of enjoying its side-effects can be sinful. Whether or not it is sinful depends on the importance of the primary end.
Taking food as an example, its primary end is to keep us alive. However, it also happens to taste good, depending on the food you like. This is a side-effect of food. If we begun to eat food simply for the sake of the pleasure taken out of it, we could begun to transgress the bounderies of gluttony, because we have seperated the purpose of food from its primary end.
Now, having food for the sake of the pleasure is not inheritly sinful, because the seperation of the primary end (to keep us alive) is not a great one. Humans can survive 3 days without water and 40+ days without food. Furthermore, fat and such is stored on our own bodies for the purpose of keeping us alive when we have none. Because of these facts, we can then enjoy the side effect of food, provided it is done in MODERATION, as temperance suggests.
Looking at the primary end of sex however, it can be instantly seen that its end is more important, because of two points. Now, this is just the natural end of sex, seperated from God’s Divine decree on its importance, holiness, etc. I am doing this for the purpose of showing you its natural importance, and that way, when its supernatual importance is added on, you can see its true significance.
Point 1 is the potential of sex to create new life. This is its primary end, and a far more important primary end than eating food – one is directed to our survival, the other towards the creation of new life. New life = a new human, with a uniquem individual soul, and a chance to explore creation and form a relationship with God. So, seperating sex from its primary end in this instance results in us taking away a potential being, with all that I have mentioned above. Pretty serious, eh?
Point 2 is the propagation and continuation of our species. Sex ensures that the human race lives on, and will continue to do so for a long time. Again, this end is directed towards others, and not us. Far more important than simply keeping outselves alive by eating.
Throw the Divine importance of sex on top – you know, the uniting of a husband and a wife into one flesh, etc. and it becomes clear that sex seperated from its ends cannot be anything BUT sinful.
Also, the intention matters. An infertile couples sex is holy and sacred because it is not their intention to seperate it from its primary end – using birth control and like means it is. Thus, they are not doing it for pleasure alone, even if they can’t have children. And, for all you know, God could make a barren couple fertile – if your even somewhat faithful, you have to admit to this possibility. Using birth control shows that you are not open to new life, thus in transgression of all I have stated earlier. Having pre-martial sex means your in transgression of God’s Divine will that it is only between 1 man and 1 women. Thus, on either account, your in the wrong, as both Natural Law and Divine Law dictate.
As you can see, the Church has given a topic like this a lot of thought. I hope this clear up issues for you. Combind this with what I have said earlier – you know, the becoming lustful, intemperate beasts thing, and perhaps you may start to see the truth.
I have only one thing to say to you about the “thou shall not” – get over it. Its not a bad thing. Do you truly need to be so rebellious? And then when we give you answers, your not satisfied with them, not because their wrong, but because they don’t suit you. I mean, come on – how are we supposed to help you see the truth when your mind is just constantly closed?



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Adam

posted October 16, 2010 at 10:34 pm


” What should stop non-Catholics/ Christians from having premarital sex if they are going to Hell anyways?”
No person is EVER predestined to go do hell, no matter what they’ve committed in their lifetime. As long as they live, they have a shot at redemption.
So, in short, what should stop them from having premartial sex is the fact that they will lose their shot at being redeemed.
Hope this helps



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Adam

posted October 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm


“I think what I was getting at when I asked if premarital sex is wrong for those who are not Catholic or even Christian has more to do with the consequences. Will the hell of an atheist couple who had premarital sex be more fiery than for a Catholic couple that had premarital sex? Will they be better off in the after-life if they wait to have sex until marriage?”
Should’ve answered this properly in the above post. In a short version – Sins become worse when they are commited with knowledge. For example, knowing pre-martial sex is worse for whatever and whatever reasons, and then going and doing it will always be worse the doing it without that knowledge.
Therefore, as a Catholic couple is supposed to know that this is bad, and in fact likely do, chances are that their sin will be greater than the athiest couple.
Hope that helps.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 16, 2010 at 11:51 pm


“I have only one thing to say to you about the “thou shall not” – get over it. Its not a bad thing. Do you truly need to be so rebellious? And then when we give you answers, your not satisfied with them, not because their wrong, but because they don’t suit you. I mean, come on – how are we supposed to help you see the truth when your mind is just constantly closed?”
Been there. Done that. Tried that.
NFP and the “Catholic way” led to two unintended pregnancies and nearly ruined our marriage. Contraception saved it. Sex is an important part of our marriage for both of us. It did not make either of us more “holy”, unless holiness involves frustration, irritability, exhaustion, and fear.
I don’t want ANYONE else to have to go through what we went through, which is why I write. If someone is running across this blog, I want them to know the entire story, not just the party line.
The Catholic Church says that contraception is against the natural law. But guess who gets to define the natural law? This natural law argument is no more than a “because we said so” justification.
My anger is at all the people who try to pretend that there is anything beautiful about “periodic abstinence”. My anger is at those who try to pretend that a policy that is harshly limiting and cruel to couples is in any way beautiful and holy. My anger is at people who insist on lying for Christ.
Now, this original thread was about premarital sex. The problem is that if sex is separated from procreation, then the Church must rethink its position on all sorts of other issues, from homosexuality to cohabitation. But they don’t want to do this. They don’t care who is suffering or the importance of sexual relations to committed couples. They just do not want to admit that they were ever wrong.
And the pews keep getting emptier.



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Emily

posted October 16, 2010 at 11:58 pm


Thank you Dcn. Kandra, for your response. It was not the answer I was expecting. I am pleasantly surprised.
Klaire- I don’t have any experience with evangelization, but I have plenty of experience with people. Generally, I don’t think it is helpful when trying to convince someone to join your side to first point out everything they have ever done wrong in their lives. Rather, it is more helpful to convince them of why they should agree with you. I tend to doubt it would be helpful to “tell others of their sins, especially those who are most unlikely to reform.” It will probably only make them dislike you.
Adam- You said, “So, in short, what should stop them from having premartial sex is the fact that they will lose their shot at being redeemed.”
Does having premarital sex as an atheist automatically make you ineligible for heaven, even if later in life you repent your sins? That wasn’t my understanding of how Christianity worked. By your logic, if an atheist had premarital sex, there would be no point to converting to Christianity later in life because they wouldn’t go to heaven despite converting. Your point does not make much sense to me.
On a related note, do you really think atheists are concerned with “losing their shot at being redeemed?” Are you concerned that if Buddhism is the one true religion that you will never reach Nirvana? I doubt it.



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WhyIamnolongerCatholic

posted October 17, 2010 at 12:07 am


Once again, you go back to the “natural” argument, which I have already addressed.
The problem is that modern medicine and nutrition has made humans unnaturally hyperfertile. People can bear far more children than they are capable of raising. Prudence demands birth regulation.
There is absolutely no real difference between artificial birth control and natural family planning, because there is absolutely nothing natural about NFP. There is nothing natural about charting and there is nothing natural about abstaining from sex when the couple is most interested in it. Finally, if God can make a barren woman fertile, he can certainly make artificial birth control fail. Nothing is 100%.
Nor is their anything good about abstinence in marriage. Healthy married couples enjoy frequent sex. The “sexless marriage” is a sign, not that the couple is more holy, but that the marriage is in serious trouble. The only reason why anyone would want to limit mutually pleasurable sex in a marriage is if they believed that sex is bad or at least in some way wrong. It doesn’t matter if this reason is because it is “sinful” or because it is “too holy” to engage in in any less than perfect conditions.
We are arguing in circles. I have heard your arguments multiple times and I have refuted all of them. I have lived your ideas and found nothing positive and plenty harmful. Good night.



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Klaire

posted October 17, 2010 at 10:34 am


Thanks Emily, I tend to agree with you, but it’s always that fine line of admonishing the sinner (we do have an obligation to do that), and not having them tune you out. I have a very close family member who is divorced and receives communion. I was horrified the first time I realized it. As hard as it was, I had no choice but to tell her. She didn’t speak to me for 6 months, but came to much appreicate the knowledge later, especially when she was dx’d with cancer and freaking out that she was going to die.
It’s not our job to convert (not that we could anyway), but it is our job to “purpose.” All said, I totally agree that when we can meet on what we agree on (one of the reasons Mere Christianity by CS Lewis is such a profond book), it’s the best start.
So on that note, I will just say to Mr. WhyIamnolongerCatholic, I have no intention to debate you, as it would be pointless. Instead, I will pray for grace for you, and perhaps, in and only in God’s grace , you will finally get a clue as to what you missed, a million time more than what you think you as a Catholic “give up.”
Bishop Fulton Sheen often used to say, “The greatest tragedy of life isn’t what we suffer, it’s what we miss.”
God Bless



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Klaire

posted October 17, 2010 at 10:37 am


Sorry for my typos. Is there any way to edit a post?



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pagansister

posted October 17, 2010 at 11:41 am


Still haven’t figured out why the NFP method is considered OK to prevent a pregnancy, purpose—no conception- and the use of “artificial birth control” is considered sinful. The purpose of both is to prevent a pregnancy—what difference does it make how that is accomplished? Guess the fact that if a woman has irregular periods (or even if she does)there is more chances of conception, even if there is no child wanted, by using NFP. The Catholic couples I’ve known have never had more than 2-3 children, and I’m pretty sure there is the use of “artificial” birth control in some if not all cases. NFP is just not that accurate—-and not having intercourse to just not have a child, is more sinful than the use of un-natural birth control. Love is expressed through making love as well as many other factors in a marriage. Worrying about an unwanted pregnancy every time one makes love can put a huge strain on a marriage. As to premarital sex–that is a decision up to the folks who might be engaged in it. Casual sex is not something I advocate, but if the relationship is committed/serious—then as I said, that is up to the couple. Some will follow their faith’s teachings and some won’t.



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michigancatholic

posted October 23, 2010 at 11:00 am


Yes. Next?



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Pablo

posted October 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm


Mr. Nolonger,
First, you should get over your decision to leave the Church. You have free will and we understand that, we need not know your bias upfront, unless you intent is to put us on notice that you have a beef with the Church.
OK, about your first statement that there is no difference between NFP and the pill. I disagree on the basis that one clearly excludes the will of God and the other defers to his will. You try to make the argument (I believe I understand you) against the natural law, but I can’t seem to make sense of it. Please explain a bit further. Here is my analogy (not the best, but in the ballpark):
1. Two people seek money to pay for food and bills.
2. One chooses to steal the money.
3. The other works.
4. Clearly, one is within the law and the other is not.
As you may know, Catholic teaching is clear that you cannot do a wrong to obtain a good. So the ends do not justify the means. By taking complete control of every aspect of fertility and sex in a marriage bless by God (assuming a valid Catholic wedding here) and excluding the gift of life (children) we are excluding God from the sacred union.
Now, I see that you confuse choosing to abstain during fertile periods, that is using the virtue of prudence, not the same and choosing the pill, which as I have explained is exclusion of God.
All of this is fantastically explained within the first few paragraphs of Humane Vitae by Pope Paul VI.
Peace!



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Pablo

posted October 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm


One more thought about sex…
Humane Vitae refers to this as the conjugal act between a man and woman in holy matrimony. Paul VI writes that the aim is both unitive and procreative. That we are “co-creators” with God when it comes to children. Clearly, by taking any form of birth control we are removing God from this act or non-act. The family is a reflection of the trinity and that is a wonderful thing.
My wife and I have been using NFP for years and yes, in spite of our abstinence during fertile periods, God has still blessed us with more kids that the average family. We have always understood that God gives life and while we used prudence to plan, God had other plans. Don’t try to think of this as some kind of democracy where each person votes, it is not the same. It is truly a reflection of a family where God has given us these incredible babies and helped our faith in him through it all.
I think it boils down to that in its essence… Do you trust God?
Our faith has increased as a result and our marriage is blessed by God. I can’t think of a more clear path to salvation than to trust in God with all your heart and.. body.



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David

posted November 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm


Does anyone not believe that fornication is a sin? What about lust of the flesh?



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