Catholic Promoters of Grave Marital Sins

This post continues the discussion from a previous post: A Common Question in Marital Sexual Ethics

The teaching that unnatural sexual acts are intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral is very unpopular today. You can find many persons online, most of them hiding behind the cover of anonymity, who disagree vehemently, and very few who agree. But the saying “the majority rules” does not determine truth or morality. The true teaching of Jesus Christ through his Church is often the minority opinion in the world, and — it is sad to say — often the minority opinion among those who call themselves Catholic Christian.

[Exodus]
{23:2} You shall not follow the crowd in doing evil. Neither shall you go astray in judgment, by agreeing with the majority opinion, apart from the truth.

As for the claim that one theologian or another has approved of unnatural sexual acts in marriage, you can always find a few theologians and priests who will tell you whatever you want to hear, whatever is popular with the masses. As for the imprimatur, quite a few bad books, which teach errors on faith or morals, have nevertheless obtained the imprimatur.

As for reputation, I have concluded in truth that God is not a respecter of persons. For there is no favoritism with God. (cf. Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). Moreover, when the majority opinion goes astray, those who teach that error will have a good reputation based on the support of that majority. They will praise to the highest heavens anyone who justifies their grave sins; they will excoriate, malign, and deride anyone who corrects them for their sins.

What matters, in any dispute among Catholics, is the teaching of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium. If the answer to any question on a matter of faith or morals seems unclear, any theological argument offering a particular answer must be firmly based on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. My answer (in outline form above and in much greater detail in my book: Roman Catholic Marital Sexual Ethics) is a clear and cogent application of the definitive teachings of the Magisterium on the basic principles of ethics and specifically on sexual ethics. Those teachings necessarily imply the condemnation of all unnatural sexual acts, even in marriage, with or without climax, regardless of intention or circumstances.

In any case, there is no support in magisterial teaching, nor in the Gospel preached by Jesus Christ, nor in the lives of the Saints, for the claim that a married couple may morally engage in unnatural sexual acts, at any time, in any way, under any explanation or excuse or clever terminology whatsoever.

Do you really believe that Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary would approve of such shameful acts?

Do you not know that your bodies are a part of Christ?
Do you not know that your bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit?
Flee from fornication.
Every sin whatsoever that a man commits is outside of the body, but whoever fornicates, sins against his own body.
Glorify and carry God in your body. (cf. 1 Corinthian 6)

May marriage be honorable in every way, and may the marriage bed be immaculate.
For God will judge fornicators and adulterers. (Hebrews 13:4)

See also Alice von Hildebrand’s explanation of this topic.

Whoever commits an unnatural sexual act outside of marriage sins gravely.

But Christian married couples engage in sexual acts as a part of the holy Sacrament of Matrimony. So when Catholic Christian spouses engage in unnatural sexual acts, they sin even more gravely, since they offend against the Sacrament and against natural law.

As for those persons, especially on the internet, who incessantly promote unnatural sexual acts, telling as many Catholic spouses as will listen to them, that such acts are moral, natural, holy, good, approved, and permitted — these persons commit the mortal sin of formal cooperation with unnatural sexual acts within the Sacrament of Marriage. They sin by formal cooperation with the unnatural sexual acts themselves, since they approve of and encourage these acts. They sin gravely against the Sacrament of Marriage by promoting acts that are sacrilegious. And they multiply this type of sin many times over by the use of the internet to speak continuously to a large audience. Their claims remain online long-term, and poor lost souls continue to find these poisonous words. As a result, one soul after another is dragged down to Hell, along with these false teachers, these wolves in sheep’s clothing. And since they harm many souls gravely on a continuing basis, their sin is even greater than that of the married couple who commits such sinful acts.

[Matthew]
{11:23} And you, Capernaum, would you be exalted all the way to heaven? You shall descend all the way to Hell. For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, perhaps it would have remained, even to this day.
{11:24} Yet truly, I say to you, that the land of Sodom shall be forgiven more than you, on the day of judgment.”

Then, too, it is to be observed that many of these anonymous online promoters of unnatural sexual acts are vociferous in their approval of these sins, and vicious toward anyone who says otherwise. Why are they so vehement in promoting these base unions which are opposed to reason and to nature? Why are they so desperate to convince everyone that such acts are moral? I suggest it is because many of these persons are committing unnatural sexual acts with their own spouses.

They are not objective in their evaluation of the theological and moral issues raised in this context. Speaking lies in hypocrisy and having their consciences seared, they promote these acts as moral so that they can continue to lie to themselves and to their spouses. They disingenuously claim Church approval for such acts, so that they will not be deprived of the disgraceful acts and shameful passions that they themselves enjoy.

[Matthew]
{18:7} Woe to a world that leads people astray! Although it is necessary for temptations to arise, nevertheless: Woe to that man through whom temptation arises!
{18:8} So if your hand or your foot leads you to sin, cut it off and cast it away from you. It is better for you to enter into life disabled or lame, than to be sent into eternal fire having two hands or two feet.
{18:9} And if your eye leads you to sin, root it out and cast it away from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, than to be sent into the fires of Hell having two eyes.

Pope John Paul II: “Saint Paul declares that ‘the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers’ are excluded from the Kingdom of God (cf. 1 Cor 6:9). This condemnation — repeated by the Council of Trent [sixth session, decree on justification, chap. 15] — lists as ‘mortal sins’ or ‘immoral practices’ certain specific kinds of behavior the willful acceptance of which prevents believers from sharing in the inheritance promised to them. In fact, body and soul are inseparable: in the person, in the willing agent and in the deliberate act, they stand or fall together.” (Veritatis Splendor 49)

[1 Corinthians]
{6:8} But you are doing the injuring and the cheating, and this toward brothers!
{6:9} Do you not know that the iniquitous will not possess the kingdom of God? Do not choose to wander astray. For neither fornicators, nor servants of idolatry, nor adulterers,
{6:10} nor the effeminate, nor males who sleep with males, nor thieves, nor the avaricious, nor the inebriated, nor slanderers, nor the rapacious shall possess the kingdom of God.

Of course, the most common response to my theological argument against any and all use of unnatural sexual acts by married spouses is the ad hominem argument. I’ve been the subject of numerous personal attacks on account of my writings on marital sexual ethics. But I ask you, whose side do you think Christ would take (and does in truth take) in this dispute — the one who teaches from Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium that married couples must chaste and that the marriage bed must immaculate, or those who offer all manner of convoluted rationalizations and vicious personal attacks in order to justify gravely immoral acts condemned by Scripture and by the Magisterium, all in order to justify their own sins?

These false teachers, who promote the commission of unnatural sexual acts by Catholic spouses, are doing grave harm to the holy Sacrament of Marriage. They grieve the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin Mary. They harm the body of Christ and contradict His holy Teaching. Their approval for unnatural sexual acts is formal cooperation with gravely immoral and intrinsically evil sexual acts. Therefore, their approval is itself intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. Are they in good conscience, through invincible ignorance, as they incessantly and loudly promote such gravely immoral acts? If they were, they would not treat all who disagree with malice, contempt, derision, false accusations, and hatred.

When they are judged by God they will be sent to the same parts of Hell as are occupied by pornographers and idolaters. Like pornographers, they are co-perpetrators of the grave sexual sins that they encourage and promote. Like idolaters, they harm the faith and offend God directly by claiming that these gravely immoral acts are holy and are part of the Sacrament of Marriage. Anathema sint. May they be cut off from the one holy Church.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to Catholic Promoters of Grave Marital Sins

  1. John Platts says:

    St. Paul says the following regarding sexual morality in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication, that each one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passions of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God, and that no one should overwhelm or circumvent his brother in business. For the Lord is the vindicator of all these things, just as we have preached and testified to you. For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification. And so, whoever despises these teachings, does not despise man, but God, who has even provided his Holy Spirit within us.” When people engage in unnatural sexual acts, including those committed between a husband and wife who are married to each other, those committed with good intentions, those committed as foreplay to natural sexual relations, and those done for purposes other than sexual gratification (such as masturbation to collect semen for medical analysis), they are offending God and they are not “possessing their vessel in sanctification and honor” as they are morally obliged to do.

  2. John Platts says:

    Although most married Catholic couples actually do know that contraception, remarriage after divorce without an annulment while their ex-spouse is still living, and extramarital intercourse are morally wrong, some of them might not even know that their unnatural sexual acts are morally wrong. At least some Catholics do misinterpret the Church’s teaching that each and every sexual act must be open to new life. Some Catholics do correctly believe this teaching when contracepted sexual intercourse or the use of abortifacent contraception is involved, but some Catholics incorrectly believe that this teaching is limited to contracepted sexual intercourse, the use of emergency contraception, and the use of abortifacent contraception whereas this teaching also prohibits all unnatural sexual acts (such as masturbation, anal sex, oral sex, and homosexual acts), since unnatural sexual acts are by their very nature non-procreative and cannot result in the conception of new life…. Pope Francis, Catholic bishops, and Catholic priests really do need to address the issue of unnatural sexual acts within marriage, and the faithful need to be made aware of the grave immorality of unnatural sexual acts within marriage.

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