Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - Updated: 3:49 pm
QUESTION: I get the feeling that the Catholic Church is way too concerned about sex. Why does the church talk about it so much? Even more importantly, why does the Catholic Church think it has the right to tell people what to do about this very personal matter?
ANSWER: A fair question might be: Why is our culture so focused on sex? Advertisements for almost everything use sexual imagery. It seems like the item for sale is secondary to the message that is seen. And that message is that sexuality is a very important part of life (and if it isn’t in your life there is something wrong with you and how you view things).
Our culture is highly sexualized. Almost any casual conversation soon turns to something sexual. Our vision of life and human sexuality is being daily formed by the culture. Young people are learning about sex, not from caring parents and credible adults, but from pornography. In the response to all this, many might ask why the church is not speaking out more about the authentic Christian vision of human sexuality.
The foundation for a response to the question posed above is that the church feels an obligation to respond to the pervasive references to sexuality in our culture. Not to do so would be an abandonment of the church’s obligation to proclaim Christ’s vision of the “kingdom” that he proclaimed.
Also, at the heart of this obligation is the scriptural teaching of the Book of Genesis, where we are told that God created all things. In the mind of the Creator, therefore, there was meaning and purpose for all things, including human sexuality. In our ordinary life we have become accustomed to having “manufacturer’s directions” accompanying the products we purchase. Obviously, we can choose to utilize the product in any way we please, but to obtain maximum results, most of us would want to follow the directions of the manufacturer.
In a similar fashion, human creation is the work of God, the creator. Is it unreasonable to expect that God had some vision about the way in which human beings should live and relate to one another? If there is such a vision, where would one find it?
The church believes that the source is divine revelation (the Bible and its authentic transmission through the centuries). Within the Scriptures, we encounter Christ and his words as well as those of many others who “heard” God. Scripture is the foundation of what the church believes and teaches. The church is also its custodian so that it may be presented to each new generation. In addition, Christ promised to remain with the church for all time.
Therefore, when the Catholic Church speaks about sexuality it speaks from the foundation of Scripture, with the presence of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, we do not look to the church to speak about the biology of human reproduction. But what the church can contribute is an insight into the mind of the Creator. The church does not contribute “know-how” but “know-why.”
Father Bober is administrator of the grouping that includes St. Kilian in Adams/Cranberry townships and Holy Sepulcher in Glade Mills.