28 January, 2011

Avoid ‘misuse of sex’ in marriage, Canadian bishops warn | Holy Post | National Post

I have only one problem with this letter from the Bishops. They have again published something that is putatively addressed to the laity, (in this case, married couples) but they employ language that's beyond their understanding. It makes excellent use of theological language to express the nuance and finesse of this teaching but this renders it almost incomprehensible to anyone without training in theology.

Until the Bishops learn how to present their message using the parlance of everyday life, comprehensible to the majority of Catholics, they're wasting their time and resources as few can take advantage of what they offer. They must come to understand that people are bushed when they get to that point in their day when they would be free to read such a document. They're too tired to slog their way through the dense theological language that the letter is written with. The Bishops have forgotten that the Catholics that they are addressing, lack the catechetical training to understand the message they are trying to communicate. Such documents such as this one do not serve to educate Rather it renders irrelevant the truths the Bishops are trying to promote in the minds of those they are trying to reach.

"Know your audience." It's the first step in trying to frame an effective message.

Avoid ‘misuse of sex’ in marriage, Canadian bishops warn | Holy Post | National Post

32 comments:

  1. The Canadian bishops are giving us advice on sex.

    It's too bad I cannot bring a lawsuit against the Catholic Church for ruining our sex life(my hubby & I marriage's) with their stupid advice they said came from God.

    And you wonder why there are less young people that goes to church.

    Here is an idea for you Fr. Tim and the rest of the Catholic priests.

    Why not put an announce in your bulletin that on a certain Sunday you will read and talk about "Avoid 'misuse of sex' in marriage."

    There is a chance you may see more people in church.

    Parishioners could use a good laugh.

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  2. Canadian Bishops:
    "..Pornography has never been more widespread, reaching almost epidemic proportion. It denigrates authentic sexual expression and encourages masturbation, sexual intimacy outside of marriage and the separation of the life-giving and love-giving meaning of sexual relations."

    Please send this to Bishop Raymond Lahey and all other priests that are awaiting trial.

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  3. Is there's some secret edict out there commanding Catholics to procreate as much as possible in order to keep those (evil?) Muslims at bay?

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  4. Giselle: Excellent point!

    Fr. Tim

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  5. Giselle

    Good point. Raymond Lahey is an excellent example of how porn denigrates authentic sexual expression. Behind every sexual predator is a mountain of porn. Increasingly, its the cause of countless troubled and broken marriages as well. It reduces men and women to merely a conduit for sexual gratification. Its taking its toll on our youth growing up in a porn culture with it readily available on just about any device that can get on the internet. STDs, unplanned pregnancies and sexual deviance are reaching new heights.

    Cheers
    Paul

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  6. Huh. Among consenting adults, there is no such thing as "misuse of sex." In marriage or out of it.

    But, Tim...are you aware how graphically phallic/yonic is that little illustration at the top? Not that I'm complaining about it, 'cause I think it's really cute, but someone else out there might decide it's too salacious, and register a complaint...

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  7. Lady Janus: It's the symbol of the marriage encounter program, a Catholic program to help strengthen healthy relationships. We also provide a program called 'Retrouveille' which is designed to help give couples in serious trouble an opportunity to 'find again' whatever it was that brought the couple together in the first place.

    You're the first person whose ever remarked on the phallic/yonic imagery in the logo. It is a purposeful act on the part of Marriage Encounter to express graphically that sex is an important part of any marriage.

    Fr. Tim

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  8. Purposeful? Seriously? Wow! I'm impressed! Well done, guys! Truly, it's an awesome logo!

    But, considering that my own culture and religion is based on Nature and all her gifts in all their manifestations, that logo practically shrieked at me; I couldn't help but notice it! 8^D

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  9. Living in the Diocese of Antigonish, I concur with Giselle. The Bishops of Canada, for the most part, have no credibility with me at all. I look to the Holy Father, the Saints and Doctors of the Church, Holy Scripture for any guidance I require. Prayers for all however.

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  10. Firstly, the church hierarchy, doctors(?), popes, etc. have often been wrong in history and invented so many dogmas which contradict Holy Scripture, why would people still trust anything they have to say? Mystery of iniquity maybe?

    Secondly, these people are the last people on earth who should be giving advice concerning marriage and sex since they themselves have fallen into the many errors of Rome, including unbiblical enforced celebacy, not to mention widespread sex abuse crisis. They have no concept of the biblical purpose of marriage, no biblical understanding of the subject of divorce (claiming self righteously they don't permit it of their members), and have invented their own unbiblical system of annulments. They themselves being celebate have no first-hand experience on the subject of marriage. Yet they are the self-proclaimed experts on these subjects.

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  11. STG: Celibacy is 'unbiblical'? How about Matthew 19:11-12, 1Cor 7:37-38?

    Fr. Tim

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  12. Tim,

    I came across a Catholic website dedicated to discrediting Dr. Loraine Boettner's work, especially his incredible book called "Roman Catholicism" written in 1962. I must spend some time studying this website and seeing what their arguments are for dismissing the book.

    I have read much of the book and feel Loraine Boettner does a terrific job, although like any other large work of that nature, there is bound to be some minor errors. He lived from 1901 to 1990 and was a great American theologian.

    I also checked out a few websites on Mattawa and found you live in a beautiful little town of 2000 people on the confluence of the Ottawa River and the Mattawa River. One picture showed your church in the distance with the steeple. Looks near the Mattawa River. An article says famous voyageurs travelled through there in past centuries enroute to the great lakes. Looks like a great area for canoeing, fishing, hunting, hiking, exploring and any outdoor activities. 40% francophone it says. Anyway looks like a good place to live.

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  13. Tim,

    I often comment giving some details to explain my point. You often reply with one liners which is fine but doesn't explain much. With all the investigation I often do both on the internet and referring to some books, and giving details I hope it isn't falling on deaf ears. I do acknowledge your time is probably more limited than mine because I am retired and don't have a position to tend to.

    I plan to reply to your comment on celebacy shortly.

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  14. Tim,

    "STG: Celibacy is 'unbiblical'? How about Matthew 19:11-12, 1Cor 7:37-38?"

    What I was referring to is the enforced celebacy of the Roman church. Priests are compelled to be and remain celebate by decree from the top down.

    The verse you referred to in Matthew 19:11-12 has the answer.

    "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." Matt 19:12(c).

    It was never taught or contemplated that celebacy would be enforced on everyone in the ministry. This is a perversion and not the intent. Very few are able to choose celebacy for themselves. It is strictly referring to those few are able to. Verse 11 makes this clear:

    "But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given." Matthew 19:11 (1 Corinthians ch7:37,38 says nothing about celebacy)

    So celebacy is an individual choice that probably very few men can commit to. When men are going into the priesthood (and nuns), certainly they cannot rationally determine that they are able to be celebate for the rest of their lives. The imposition of celebacy on the whole clergy is against the intent of these verses. The reason it is done may be for several reasons. One is a misunderstanding of Scripture and the way God created man, woman, and the marriage institution. Secondly, there may be a financial incentive to the church to have celebacy.

    Marriage is something God intended for man and woman. That is why men and women are born with a natural desire and a sex drive. It is completely normal and the way God created us. Celebacy has it's roots in Gnosticism and Manichaean heresies of the second and third centuries which taught that matter was inherently evil and that salvation consisted in resisting and overcoming it. (Loraine Boettner)

    That idea is still prevalent today in Romanism.

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  15. STG: Mattawa is indeed one of the most picturesque places in Ontario. The word 'Mattawa' means 'meeting place of two rivers', in this case the Mattawa and the Ottawa Rivers.

    Fr. Tim

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  16. STG: Celibacy was not forced on me by anyone! I freely choose to live this life of my own free will. Were this not the case, I would be able to live my vocation as a priest. Being called to celibacy is a sign of a vocation - it's not something that imposed.

    Fr. Tim

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  17. OK, you yourself may be one of rare few that can live a life of celebacy without problems, and I understand you were not forced into it.

    Still you might not understand the meaning of the verses. The verses are basically saying it is not something that is to be imposed from the top down on everyone. It is an individual choice. But in the case of priests and nuns, it is a requirement that they all agree to it as a condition of employment. That's the problem right there. It's not good enough to say they made their choice when they were young and went into their training, etc. Some are groomed for it from a young age and probably don't really know what celebacy means in real life. How can they know if they haven't experienced it? It is basically against human nature, contrary to way God created man and woman.

    "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." 1 Corinthians ch7 vs2

    It is better to marry than to burn (with lust, or sexual desire, etc).

    You can't tell me that priests do not have normal sexual desires that everyone else has. The life they are living is unnatural.

    The apostle Paul indicated that it would be normal for the apostles to have wives.
    "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" 1 Corinthians ch9 vs5.

    What about the qualifications listed for a bishop in Holy Scripture?
    "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" 1 Timothy ch3 vs 2

    "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?"

    1 Timothy ch3 vs4,5

    It is clear bishops were to have wives and be able to lead their families and children well. How can men who have no families be expected to know how to take care of the church as these verses say?

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  18. STG: Your efforts are not in vain. This site averages a few hundred page views every day so even if I tend to offer short replies (I do appreciate your understanding) there are quite a few folks who are reading these comments.

    You are serving to build the Kingdom of God through your efforts. We might not agree on every point of doctrine, but I do not doubt your sincerity and faith. It's always a pleasure to read your comments, as it is to read comments from (most of) others.

    Fr. Tim

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  19. In the article above the bishops say:
    "Despite what the media and Hollywood suggest, the value of sexual intercourse does not lie in recreation, or physical gratification...."

    Further on they say
    "That is why the sexual act has to be unitive and procreative..."

    They poke their noses into the intimacy of the sex life of married couples, trying to impose their own vision of what sex should be for. The Bible says "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4

    Of particular concern is their emphasize it must be for procreation, but this verse in the Bible does not say so.

    Also, the apostle Paul said "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

    Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." 1 Corinthians ch7 2-5

    It seems from these verses the emphasis is not for procreation, but for pleasure and to avoid fornication.

    Also, what happens when the woman is past the child-bearing age? Is there no longer an important role for sex for a couple? It seem these bishops are dimishing the importance of the sexual act for anything other than procreation. Sad because this view could lead to difficulties within a marriage. Perhaps this stems from their view that the flesh and pleasure is somehow wrong or sinful and should be avoided. Again this stems from Gnosticism and Manacheanism of the early centuries.

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  20. Small Town Guy, I am gonna offer some prayers up for you. And as well may I humbly suggest you read a little book called Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales, a Doctor of the Church. You seem like a pretty open minded guy and truly, I think you will like this book given that you are open minded. And by the way, Saint Francis is a Doctor of the Church :)

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  21. Anonymous,

    Thank you. I do not have that book. I try to be open-minded. I will see what I can find on this man on the internet. But I'm not sure I should run out to buy a book. I think there have been many doctors of the church. They have not always agreed with each other. Do you have any particular parts of the book in mind that you could quote which we could discuss? Is there anything he said that is relevant to this topic?

    I will see what I can find out about Saint Francis de Sales and get back to you on here.

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  22. Anonymous,

    There are a number of people who sign as anonymous. It would be helpful if you could pick a pseudonym or handle.

    With all due respect, I'm not sure why you are recommending St Francis. I prefer to discuss God's Word, the Holy Bible rather than having to go out and buy a new book written by someone who might be a devout RC and greatly revered by RCs, yet his writings might be contrary to the Bible; so what good is that? Did he pray to Mary? Is St. Francis one of the saints RCs pray to? God's teaches us to pray to Jesus (God) only, not to Mary or the Saints. So why would I want to read his book? If you know something about this subject or wish to quote St. Francis, go ahead. I am willing to examine it with an open mind.

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  23. Wayne

    You're absolutely correct when you say the bible does not INSIST on celibacy among clergy however you seem to blow if off as a negative thing when clearly scripture holds it up as a superior choice to marriage for a servant of God.

    Paul tells us “For he who is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of this world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided” (1 Cor 7:32-34).

    The other fallacy often put out in this debate is the old argument "how can a celibate priest give advice to someone married?". Thats as stupid as me saying "how can a married pastor council an unmarried parishioner? All he knows is married life.
    Priests grew up in families just like the rest of us. They experienced the dynamics of family life on a daily basis and have ample life experience to draw upon not withstanding the rigorous education they receive in seminary concerning such issues.
    Would you reject a psychologists advice for a drug addict if he wasn't an addict himself? Would the fact he hasn't experienced the problem somehow discredit his ability to give sound guidance?

    Cheers
    Paul

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  24. Paul,

    "You're absolutely correct when you say the bible does not INSIST on celibacy among clergy however you seem to blow if off as a negative thing when clearly scripture holds it up as a superior choice to marriage for a servant of God."

    You are missing the point here. Romanist celebacy is a MANDATORY requirement for all priests and nuns, which they must take an oath to when they are ordained. What the apostle is speaking about in 1 Corinthians is nothing like that. He is talking to individual believers. So it is strictly a matter of individual choice. There is nothing in the Scripture to authorize a church to enforce a mandatory celebacy rule for all clergy. Sure, the apostle Paul said "to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." 1 Cor. 7:8,9

    Remaining celebate is not a normal state. It is only possible for a few who are truly called and able to do that. Most men have a desire for a wife and Paul says "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." 1 Cor.7:2

    Even Jesus said it is not mandatory.
    "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." Matthew ch19 vs10-12

    Paul said in his epistle to Timothy:
    "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,..." 1 Timothy 3:2

    Celebacy was not a requirement to be in the ministry. This was later invented by the papacy for it's own purposes. Enforced celebacy ignores that teaching that it is by personal choice and only for those that are able.

    Some studies have reported a fairly high percentage of priests are homosexual, perhaps as high as 50%. The requirement for celebacy has proven to be a disaster and contributed to many evils.

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  25. "Thats as stupid as me saying 'how can a married pastor council an unmarried parishioner? All he knows is married life.'"

    Not accurate. Before he was married, he was unmarried, after all. And unless the act of marriage wiped his brain clean of all memories of being unmarried, he will remember quite clearly what his former life was like. Especially after his first marital spat... ;D

    And "experiencing the dynamic of family life, etc.," is NOT the same as being a partner in a sexual relationship.

    "Would you reject a psychologists advice for a drug addict if he wasn't an addict himself?"

    Absolutely!

    "Would the fact he hasn't experienced the problem somehow discredit his ability to give sound guidance?"

    Inescapably!

    The issue is one of empathy, Paul. No one can fully understand a situation one has never experienced for one's self (although, even at that, each individual will have his own unique take on any experience that no one else will ever be able to share). And the question of a celibate's giving advice to someone who is married is actually quite pertinent to many people.

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  26. Paul,

    "The other fallacy often put out in this debate is the old argument "how can a celibate priest give advice to someone married?"."

    It's not a fallacy. Most priests are probably not genuinely called to a life of celebacy and should not be there. Celibacy in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ is solely for the individual who can receive that gift.

    Reports indicate a significant percentage are homosexual. Sexual abuse has been a major problem for many clergy.

    Moreover the RC church has a lower view of marriage than the clerical state. They do not understand that marriage is ordained by God and is a holy state for christians. It is not something invented by the RCC by making a sacrament out of it. It existed since the time of Adam and Eve, thousands of years before there was any RCC or sacrament. Therefore they are not the right people to be giving advice on marriage.

    Having an unmarried clergy means a huge saving in money. They do't have to worry about providing accomodation and living for wives and children and sufficent money for education of children. There is no inheritance to be given to families. Unmarried priests can easily be re-assigned and moved to other locations where they are needed at relatively little expense. The costs savings in having celebacy are phenomenal.

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  27. Hi Small Town Guy,

    You don't have to go buy the book. You can find it online here free for the reading.

    http://www.catholicity.com/devoutlife/

    Here is the forward from this particular web site:
    "Introduction to the Devout Life is the most popular Catholic "self-help" book of all time. First published in the early 17th century, it has proven its value as a daily spiritual guide and helpful reference for living an authentic Christian life. Written specifically for laymen, it began as letters from Saint Francis to a married woman who was seeking holiness amidst the distractions of her life of wealth and status. It contains treasures of wisdom for every reader, from eager beginner to lifelong Christian."

    You'll find plenty of quotes from scripture to back up his points. It's a very good read and still applies to our lives today. Section 3 applies to the conversation here as far as marriage. People choose their vocations in this life, hopefully believing they are choosing the path the Good Lord wishes for them. It's not always easy, but in this life, we have to remember we all have a choice in the path we take.

    I leave it to you, read or not. Your choice :)

    May God abundantly bless you!

    Nova Scotia girl

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  28. Anonymous Nova Scotia girl,

    Thank you for the link to the book online. I see it is quite a long book and I am a slow reader. Unfortunately, I don't think I will have the time to read through the whole book. I may take a look at parts of it to see where he is coming from.

    You say it is a helpful reference for living an authentic christian life. Without reading the book, I admit I cannot comment specifically on what he says. But if he is a follower of the teachings of Rome such as believing in confessing to priests to obtain absolution and penance, and believing he can atone for his own sins through the Mass, auricular confession, acts of self sacrifice and suffering or deprivation, he is in serious error. Nobody can atone for their own sins. Only Jesus atoned for sins once for all on the cross. Read Hebrews chap, 8, 9, 10, and 11. One cannot earn God's grace by doing certain exercises or good works. God's grace is entirely a free gift of God which he gives to whom he wills. Read Romans ch3,4,5 and Galatians. As well meaning and sincere and dedicated as St. Francis might be, he cannot earn God's grace by various acts of devotion or religious exercises. That is why it is better to read the Bible. The RCC has been misleading people by diverting them to these kinds of books instead of the Bible.

    Having said all that, I will try to skim through some of the book to see what he has to say, but it may be the kind of book that is hard to read without sitting down and reading every word, which takes an enormous amount of time. If you can summarize the book, that might be interesting.

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  29. Anon, Nova Scotia girl,

    I have been reading part of the book. It says in the Introduction Part 1 Chap.4:

    ""Confess thyself often,--choose a single-minded, worthy confessor, who is able wisely to teach thee how to do that which is needful for thee.""A faithful friend," we are told in Holy Scripture, "is a strong defence, and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure;"and again: "A faithful friend is the medicine of life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him."These sacred words have chiefly reference, as you see, to the immortal life, with a view to which we specially need a faithful friend, who will guide us by his counsel and advice, thereby guarding us against the deceits and snares of the Evil One:--he will be as a storehouse of wisdom to us in our sorrows, trials and falls; he will be as a healing balm to stay and soothe our heart in the time of spiritual sickness,--he will shield us from evil, and confirm that which is good in us, and when we fall through infirmity, he will avert the deadly nature of the evil, and raise us up again.

    But who can find such a friend? The Wise Man answers:--"He that feareth the Lord:" that is to say, the truly humble soul which earnestly desires to advance in the spiritual life. So, daughter, inasmuch as it concerns you so closely to set forth on this devout journey under good guidance, do you pray most earnestly to God to supply you with a guide after His Own Heart, and never doubt but that He will grant you one who is wise and faithful, even should He send you an angel from Heaven, as He sent to Tobias."

    True christians need not seek an earthly friend to act as their confessor, councillor, and guide.

    But they have Jesus. The Scripture says "And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchageable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmles, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, forst for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore." Hebrews ch7 vs 23-28

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  30. Anonymous,

    Hi Nova Scotia girl,

    In the book "Introduction to the Devout Life" is a chapter called "The first step must be purifying the soul".

    Saint Francis who wrote this must not understand the teaching of the Bible that man/woman cannot purify their own soul from sin. That is why we need a Saviour. The apostle Paul talks about this subject in Romans ch3,4,5. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans ch5 vs1. Only Christ can purify one. This is through the new birth. It is God's grace through faith which will give a person that legal justification spoken of by Paul. "But to hiim that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Romans ch4 vs5. Have you received this imputed righteousness of Christ yet to purify your soul?
    "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:" Romans 3:22.
    ---Wayne

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  31. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

    By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
    1 Corinthians ch15 vs 1-4

    "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Romans ch1 vs16

    ReplyDelete

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