Catholicism and sexuality
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Catholic teachings on sexual morality draw from natural law, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and are promulgated authoritatively by the Magisterium. Sexual morality evaluates the goodness of sexual behavior, and often provides general principles by which one is able to evaluate the morality of specific actions.
The Catholic Church teaches that human life and human sexuality are both inseparable and sacred. Because Catholics believe God created human beings in his own image and likeness and that he found everything he created to be "very good," the Catholic Church teaches that human body and sex must likewise be good. The Catechism teaches that "the flesh is the hinge of salvation." The Church considers the expression of love between husband and wife to be an elevated form of human activity, joining as it does, husband and wife in complete mutual self-giving, and opening their relationship to new life. “The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, ‘noble and worthy.’” It is in cases in which sexual expression is sought outside sacramental marriage, or in which the procreative function of sexual expression within marriage is deliberately frustrated, that the Catholic Church expresses grave moral concern.
However the Church does teach that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is contrary to its purpose. The "conjugal act" aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul" since the marriage bond is to be a sign of the love between God and humanity.
Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, homosexual practices and artificial contraception. Besides being considered a grave sin, the procurement or assistance in abortion can carry the penalty of excommunication.
- Catholic theology of the body
- Catholics for Choice
- Christian views on contraception
- Homosexuality and Catholicism
- Sexual ethics
- Moral theology