THEOLOGY OF THE BODY GONE BAD

“The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.” has intended for them. *** At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2362)

In a previous post I attempted to explain Saint John Paul II’s wonderful “theology of the body” in a very concise manner. See

THEOLOGY OF THE BODY IN A NUTSHELL | Catholic Strength

However, in this post I feel compelled to point out a misuse of the theology of the body that never would have been sanctioned by Pope John Paul II. Hopefully, those theologians who were proposing illicit methods of foreplay between husband and wife – under the guise of the theology of the body – have stopped discussing such matters and have repented for having done so. If this is true, I thank them for their courage and faithfulness.

There have been a number of discussions on the internet in recent years (at Catholic websites), flowing apparently from the publication of books and tapes on the theology of the body, as to whether sodomy as foreplay to natural intercourse between husband and wife is permissible, and some theologians have maintained it is (although some are beginning to caution that the practice is nevertheless not sanitary and could be emotionally debasing). The author of this note is personally saddened that a Catholic man could even conceive of sodomizing his wife under any circumstances. Two of the greatest moral theologians in the Catholic Church, both of whom are Saints and Doctors of the Church, have expressed the opposite opinion, namely, that such conduct is mortally sinful.

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5 comments

  1. Thomas, you might be interested in my book The Catholic Marriage Bed, which discusses this same topic. The book takes the point of view of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, condemning all unnatural acts, even in marriage.

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  2. Thank you! I’ve discovered that there are an insane number of Catholics out there who sincerely think that as long as you’re married, you can engage in any kind of sicko sexual activity you want, and it’s morally all right. Where do they even get this idea? Saint John Paul II must be turning in his grave…

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  3. So are we saying that kissing of the breasts, clitoris, penis, et al, with or without coming to climax, is mortally sinful as ‘other unnatural actions’?

    In the other areas of God’s morality, the intent is central, so if this kissing [as a means of touching?] is to help to bring to sacramental co-climaxing unity, why is this kissing immoral or unnatural? I missed this explanation, sorry. The discussion seems to have changed from ‘the place’ of consummation to the ‘means of pleasure stimulations’, either with or without release. These are two different moral realities. What is the moral, biblical reason, that makes kissing (oral gift-faculty) unnatural with or without climax, versus place and/or climax??

    I missed this connection in the discussion as well: it seemed to go from anal contact as the other circumstances and then became both oral and anal in the next paragraph? Why could the other circumstances have simply referred to the anal and not the kissing – or perhaps others, but without kissing?

    I could not find the ‘list’ indicated in this line: St. Thomas Aquinas, in discussing “the sin against nature” (under which heading he understands the whole ensemble of deviant acts listed near the beginning of my previous paragraph) – help please and thank you!

    Blessings!

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    1. The clear conclusion from the article is that both consummated and unconsummated oral and anal sex between husband and wife
      is mortally sinful. If the Church were to forbid kissing and the touching of breasts as foreplay then I
      would probably become a Methodist! As to the other things you mention, I would avoid foreplay that attempts to mimic
      coitus, and generally would keep with the spirit of CCC 2362. There’s plenty of pleasure here without the sin!

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