Friday, September 12, 2008

The Catholic Church, Sex and Family

Anyone who has looked at my blog knows that I very interested in the Catholic Church's position on matters relating to sex from masturbation to abortion. To clear the air a bit, I am Catholic---some may doubt this---, no member of my family, immediate or extended has had an abortion to my knowledge and I know only three families personally that have had abortions for their children. I do not advise abortion; I think it is a poor thing to do.

I am quite aware that the Church finds abortion to be a sin, indeed murder. I do not agree with this position totally.

Although I have blogged and commented on these issues at various times, I want to put together my thought in a brief series of posts.

I believe all recognize that in dicussing an issue, it is legitimate to see if those who speak or write on the issue , have any special interest in the outcome of the discussion. We recognize this in our courts which are dedicated to finding the truth in any case. For example if a person sues, say, the Ford Motor Company for negligence in making a car,it is quite proper and indeed necessary, to take the possibility of 'interest in the outcome' if a Ford company executive is giving testimony. Also his expertise in the matter through knowledge and experience is relevant. And so in a criminal trial, the testimony of the defendant must be matched by his interest in the outcome. Not that in either case, the Ford executive or the criminal defendant, is the testimomy automatically false. It may well be true.

Now I believe the Catholic Church has a definite interest in the outcome of discussion about sex in general. This interest in the outcome must be weighed in shaping one's beliefs.

I believe all would agree that the Church had an anti-sex position for many centuries. Sex was primarily or only for procreation. But I will leave that history aside and concentrate on its position today, or in the last few decades.

These considerations need to be looked at in determining the Church's teaching or disciplines in these matters.

One. All significant decision makers in the Church are celibates.

Two. All significant decisions makers in the church are pledged to repress or sublimate all sexual feelings.

Three. The Church clearly teaches that a celibate life makes it easier to serve and know God.

Four. No significant decision makers in the Church (with a few exceptions) know of or have experienced the special bond of husband and wife.

Five. No significant decision maker in the Church has experienced the special bond existing between parents who, through their actions, have created a child.

I believe these factors must be kept in mind when evaluating the doctrines and disciplines promulgated by these decision makers. I believe to ignore them is the height of unreason.Again, I do say these factors do not, of themselves, automatically make the Church's position wrong.

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