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.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sexual Morality and Church Teaching Cont'd

Denise Hunnell, a Mirror of Justice reader who also hosts the "Catholic Mom" blog, has been following this thread and offers some thoughts on her blog.  You can read the full post here, and herewith is an excerpt of her argument that a departure from sexual morality in one dimension starts us down the "slippery slope":

"Following the lead of the Episcopalians, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently voted to allow their clergy to be in 'committed, lifelong, same-gender relationships.' This did not sit well with Reverend Debra Haffner, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She objects to the requirement for the relationships to be committed and life-long:

* * * I've long believed that the major sexuality problem denominations face is that they are unable to acknowledge that celibacy until marriage doesn't apply to most single adults. There are more than 75 million American adults who are single -- more than at any time in history. We are marrying later, divorcing at high levels, and living longer, so more of us will be widowed. And as a whole, we're having sexual relationships when we aren't in marriages.

As Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, Reverend Haffner thinks celibacy and chastity are overrated:

The Religious Institute has long called for a new sexual ethic to replace the traditional "celibacy until marriage, chastity after." This new ethic is free of double standards based on sexual orientation, sex, gender or marital status. It calls for sexual relationships to be consensual, non-exploitative, honest, pleasurable and protected, whether inside or outside of a covenanted relationship. It insists that intimate relationships be grounded in communication and shared values.

Denise Hunnell then notes, with well-justified alarm, that a number of Catholic clergy have endorsed this document.  Are we already sliding down that "slippery slope"?

Greg Sisk


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