Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A bit more on "The Bishops and Human Sexuality"

I would like to thank Michael P. for drawing attention to the November 24th lead editorial from the National Catholic Reporter. It appears that the authors of the editorial disagree with the bishops on several major issues, and they, the editorial authors, need more clarity.

However, the editorial also raises its own important questions that call for more clarity on the part of its authors.

For example, the editorial’s suggestion that various bishops’ statements “tend[] to reduce all of human love to the act of breeding.” I am not so sure that this is an accurate characterization of what the bishops have stated. The bishops, and others, have discussed many aspects of human love that do not imply acts of breeding. Moreover, like many other people, I love to read books; I love to listen to Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven; I love my family. But these acts of human love are not acts of breeding. Perhaps the editors could have been more precise, more clear, in the point they were trying to make.

But there are other elements of this editorial that also require more precision and greater clarity, and these get to the heart of what is likely the motivation for the editorial. When all is said and done, the authors of this editorial disagree with the teachings of the Church as taught by the bishops. Several times within their editorial, the authors refer to “science” and “human experience.” I, for one, would like to know what is the “science” upon which they rely to substantiate their disagreement with the bishops. Their assertion about and reliance on “science” stands in need of clarification.

But in the meantime, I will offer a thought on the allegation about “human experience.” “Human experience” and powerful political lobbying may lead to the decriminalization of certain actions in specified contexts. For example, abortion and adultery and other extra-marital sexual activity were once crimes; but now, in some instances at least, they are not. That does not mean that they are no longer sins. That is a matter for God, not “science” and not “human experience”, to decide. I think the editors who wrote this editorial could have been more clear on this point. Finally, I should comment on the editorial’s remark about the lives of the “faithful.” Each of us who considers one’s self as a member of the faithful is a sinner. But, as sinners, we have the ongoing ability to seek God’s forgiveness and to amend our lives and to sin no more, as the Church teaches us. This, too, is human experience, but it seems to be the type of human experience that does not merit comment in this editorial.   RJA sj


Araujo, Robert | Permalink

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