While I was exploring some quotations on the resource pages of the Jubilee Declaration on Church Authority, I came across an extract from a useful article on Aquinas and “Natural Law”. Following the link to the full text took me to what struck me as a sane, rational approach to sexuality for Catholics, “The Body is Sacred“, which I strongly recommend to my readers – especially LGBT Catholics, but also those of other faiths, sexualities and gender identities.
For Catholics, what I find particularly attractive is their stated intention to provide material which is modern, based on sound academic scholarship – and experience. Although I am not myself a scholar, this is broadly in keeping with my own intention here to promote “reality – based theology” – in contrast with much of the Vatican pronouncements on human sexuality, which generally ignore both the findings of scientific research, and the experience of real lives.
From The Body is Sacred home page:
“A Catholic site dealing with sexuality… (presenting) a modern view based on academic scholarship and experience”.
Catholic morality has been tainted with negative views on sexuality. It may be said truthfully, that the Catholic Church – through its teaching – represses a healthy sexuality.”
On this site we present a balanceed view, supported by modern Catholic theology. We carry responsibility for our sexuality, as for any other gift we have received. We may not harm others or ourselves. On this site we try to preserve a healthy balance, asserting that sex is good and sacred, while avoiding left and right extremes.
I should stress, here, the emphasis on sound academic scholarship. I found my way to the site via a piece on Aquinas and “The Doctrine of Natural Law“, by Dr John Wijngaards, Director of Housetop, an international centre of adult faith formation, which is where the Body is Sacred website had its origins. Housetop,
…..an international centre for faith formation that was founded in 1983 in the archdiocese of Westminster. The name ‘Housetop’ derives from Christ’s injunction that his good news should be proclaimed “from the housetops”.
We believe in adult faith formation, that is: we treat believers as adults. We respect people’s doubts, their search and individual pace. We realise the importance of every person’s own experiences. We encourage people to think for themselves so that their commitment of faith will be deep and lasting. Christ wants free, happy, knowing disciples.
A cautionary note on the Body is Sacred Website is that they are “busy updating”, and there are some oddities. I’m not going to attempt a full assessment of the site, but here is an outline of the content – with some quotations that head the key pages:
Sex is a much bigger reality than sex. Love is larger, deeper, wider, greater. Love is reaching out to others with admiration and well-wishing. Love give, gives generously when it can do so.
Catholic morality has been tainted with negative views on sexuality. It may be said truthfully that the Catholic Church – through its teaching – represses a healthy Christian sexuality. The reasons are manifold: a mistaken enthusiasm for radical purity, the heritage of writers like Augustine who had been infected with a Manichean fear of the body, undigested medieval philosophies, the influence of Jansenistic though especially in France.
The Mania of “All Sex is Sin”- the origins of the negative attitude to sex in the Catholic Church:
- Incremental Change in Church for LGBT Catholics (queeringthechurch.com)
- “Theologians’ Revolt” – International Edition (queeringthechurch.com)
- “Queer Pewroots” (Updated). (queeringthechurch.com)