Sin and the Synod

Unusually, I am inserting an extra post to give us an opportunity to consider the immediate outcome of the Synod. Many of you will already know that the section recommending the possibility of the divorced and remarried returning to Holy Communion and the readiness to welcome those in homosexual relationships did not achieve the two thirds vote required for inclusion, although a simple majority was obtained on both of these.

You will get a good, initial, account at , and this will also give you a link to the Pope’s important final address (try reading between the lines!).

You will remember that the Synod is only a starting point; it will not be until the 2015 meeting that conclusions will be reached, followed by a papal announcement. In between these two events there will be much discussion on these, and the other issues which have been addressed. When I wrote formerly about my hope for the Synod, my emphasis was on the need for genuine collegial discussion. Although we do not have direct texts of what was said, it is clear that such a discussion has taken place.

So now is the time for whole Church to discuss. And that means us. Do make sure, when you have had time for due thought, that you let the teaching Church know your views. That may mean to your diocesan bishop (perhaps via your pp), your religious superior or through any relevant organisation.

Meanwhile, there is plenty of opportunity for you to test your initial views with your fellow contributors here.

(Remember that “Behave yourself” is still inviting comment.)

About Quentin

Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
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48 Responses to Sin and the Synod

  1. Ann says:

    The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the backing of two-thirds of the bishops at a synod in Rome.

    The final report says only that anti-gay discrimination is “to be avoided”.

    So what the bishops are saying homosexuals shouldn’t be accepted and valued as human beings? Isn’t that discrimination?

    As for ss unions being equal to marriage, who wants that within the church? Anyone can see that marriage is man/woman and a family. SS unions would be that, a union, not a marriage. Can the church hierachy not understand that people want and need to be accepted as they are and not what they do. I think most ss couples and singles just want to be able to stay within the church, and do not want the church to necessary change their doctine.

    Is it true most numbers of bishops came from africa, far east? Look at how people are treated in those countries, not just homosexuals, but all people including children. How is our church to move in a postive direction if many still believe in backward ways to treat others who live a different life style to theirs?

    To me it’s as though they think that if they say something is now acceptable to a degree the whole church will fall apart…….

    • LoyalCatholic says:

      The problem is once you show tolerance the anti-Catholic Left demands approval. To them, any disapproval of behavior is ‘discrimination.’

      • St.Joseph says:

        That is where I see the confusion of ‘mercy’ without repentence.

      • Alan says:

        “The problem is once you show tolerance the anti-Catholic Left demands approval. To them, any disapproval of behavior is ‘discrimination.’”

        This is not the case for concerns such as sexism or racism or discrimination based on religion/politics. There is only the demand that people aren’t actively discriminated against based on these factors. Disapproval alone is disappointing and saddening because it is considered to be unjustified, divisive and without good cause, but I don’t think it is imagined to be discrimination unless it is actually acted upon to someone’s disadvantage.

        I don’t see any reason to think that other forms of discrimination are significantly different.

      • Martha says:

        This is what I was trying to say in a comment I made to the last Post about feelings and understanding, which cannot always mean full agreement and approval.

  2. Geordie says:

    Loving relationships exist in great depth without sexual relationships. Sexual relationships are meant for married couples; i.e. a man and a woman. Why does the modern world put such store by sexual acts? The way things are going, we will soon have demands for incestuous relationships to be put on the same footing as marriage. People will demand it by right.
    Paedophiles tried, in the seventies, to convince us that their activities were loving relationships. Thank God society has rejected their claims but a lot of children have suffered due to confused attitudes on the subject.
    We should separate love from sex; having sex is not making love, except in clearly defined circumstances.

    • milliganp says:

      If we presume that the human body is designed by God, then indeed all sexual activity is oriented towards love and the building of a loving mutual relationship. Sex can be misused but you cannot remove the unitive aspect of it, it’s how our bodies and minds are hard wired to work.

  3. Claret says:

    The draft report said homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”.

    I am always intrigued by this type of comment. In what way do homosexuals, by means of their sexuality, have gifts and qualities that are unique to them solely because of their sexual orientation?

    This question is not meant to be discriminatory. We all, no matter what our sexual orientation, have qualities and gifts in equal measure, do we not? The opposite is sadly true also . Viz. Cruelty and evil can also exist in the individual in the same way.

    If we really want to be non-discriminatory then we should stop putting people in compartments and giving all encompassing titles to people who are perceived to be in some kind of sexual grouping.

    • Peter Nyikos says:

      It’s hard to tell, without seeing the draft report, what its framers had in mind with homosexuals having “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”. And perhaps even a look wouldn’t help. Our diocese had a synod about three decades ago and the draft report was obviously put together by people with a dissident agenda, e.g. bringing up the possibility of women priests. There were many comments in the report whose rationale I could not clearly make out.

      Perhaps homosexuals who are faithful Catholics as well, can teach us about heroic virtue–having a temptation that cannot be satisfied in any licit way, and yet remaining celibate. One such person is Joseph Prever, who for many years went under the pseudonym “Steve Gershom” and still uses it for his blog,

      There is a brief introduction to him here:

      A few weeks ago, we were discussing people in a similar situation: divorced and remarried Catholics, some of whom need to go on living in the same house to raise children for whose upbringing they are responsible. The Church allows that as long as they live “as brother and sister.”

      • St.Joseph says:

        Peter Nyikos
        .As husband and wife,( being in a lawful marriage even not sacramental,) that is not natural
        I do believe that something not so distressing can be put in place of an annulment
        Just my own thoughts..
        I am sorry that was not on the agenda or at least now seems a ( dead duck). Did the Synod discuss abortifacants in marriage!!!!!! What about their souls! What you loose on earth!!

      • St.Joseph says:

        Peter Nyikos.
        I was unable to get into stevegorshamweb

    • milliganp says:

      The interim report did not link the gifts and talents of gay people to their sexual activity or specifically to their sexuality. A persons sexuality is part of their created nature. Gays make perfectly good doctors, teachers etc, and they can also bring Christian care to those in need of it. The African church is, sadly, nowhere near up to speed on this. Our African parish administrator tells us there are no gays in Africa, only perverts, and that homosexuality is a western social disease.
      Strangely Africa has 90% of all AIDS in the world, but they are a moral continent (or is that incontinent).

  4. John Nolan says:

    On 2 October Secondsight posted the following: ‘Synods … have in the past been very much under the control of the Curia. Both the agenda and the final outcomes often appear to be masterminded … However, the advent of Pope Francis may well make a difference this time’.

    Well, someone tried to mastermind both the agenda and outcome; how else do you explain the extraordinary contents of Monday’s ‘Relatio’ (interim report)? In this case it was not ‘the Curia’, but the men whom Pope Francis himself had picked to manage the Synod (notably Archishop Bruno Forte, who wrote it) and undoubtedly the Pope himself. By Thursday the chief Relator, Cardinal Peter Erdo, had distanced himself from the Relatio and moved that the reports of the language groups (circuli minores) also be made public. Cardinal Baldisseri, Secretary-General to the Synod and a close confidant of the Pope, refused – this was not part of the game plan. There were vociferous protests, and he was even booed. He looked to the Pope for guidance, and Francis nodded. The bishops indicated that they were not to be browbeaten.

    Meanwhile, there was the bizarre affair of the Kasper interview which he denied had taken place (until the transcripts were provided). It is important to realize that for the secular media the issue of Communion for the divorced and remarried is of no importance – the issue of ‘gay rights’ is. So the story goes like this (BBC report this morning): ‘Pope Francis’s plan to make the Church more welcoming to gays has failed to gain sufficient support from the world’s bishops’. The BBC, which is gaining a reputation for lazy journalism, obviously thinks that Roman Synods function as a sort of Church parliament, like the General Synod of the Church of England.

    Historically, popes have used synods to assert papal authority and impose reform – think of Leo IX (1049-1054) who travelled throughout Germany, France and Northern Italy calling synods to eradicate abuses and deposing recalcitrant bishops. But it’s hardly post-V2 collegiality in action.

    • milliganp says:

      It is hard not to see Kasper as duplicitous and it does seem obvious that the synod had a implicit pre-concieved bias. However it was obviously open. We need to remember there was not a single issue in the final report which was not approved by a majority and a third of the paragraphs would have never even got into a curial document for consideration.

  5. Nektarios says:

    I don’t think it would be PC for me as Orthodox to give my views on Synodal affairs within the Roman Catholic Church. I do pray however that you will come to a biblical and Apostolic understanding on these issues.

  6. Claret says:

    ‘The draft report said homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.”

    This is a quote from the link provided by Quentin, not my words or opinion.

    It strongly infers that the Bishops identify homosexuals as having particular gifts and qualities by virtue of that homosexuality. The inverse infers that those who are not homosexual do not have these ‘gifts and qualities.’

    No one doubts that homosexuals can make good doctors and teachers , (as Milligamp states,) but is it their sexuality that is the determining factor or their humanity? If the Church is not careful it will get to the point where it classifies homosexuals as being good at certain professions either despite their sexuality or because of it.

    If the quote of the synod document is reported correctly then it compartmentalizes people as having particular qualities that are governed by their sexuality.

    It is a patronizing statement and a careless one.

    • John Nolan says:

      Claret, the text of the Relatio post disceptationem, published simultaneously in a number of languages raises a lot of questions, and there is even suspicion that it was drawn up before the Synod fathers met. The media believes (and may have been deliberately led to believe) that it represents the Pope’s views. The South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier opined that the damage done is ‘irremediable’ and two other prominent English-speaking cardinals, Burke and Pell, were openly critical. And this was before the dramatic events of Thursday 16 October.

    • John L says:

      Claret, you give a fair warning against the dangers of classifying people. Nonetheless, all I can say is that the homosexual men I have encountered during my own life seemed to have a quality of gentleness that is often lacking amongst men who take pride in their “macho” qualities. I am not homosexual myself, nor am I trying to justify immoral activities, merely to say that I have observed qualities which are immensely valuable to us.
      Whether or not this is what the Synod had in mind is anybody’s guess.

      • St.Joseph says:

        I do not see that when they have their Gay Marchs , also I have seen agressivness from a catholic priest .who is homosexual,especially to old people not because they were against homosexuals.. Just blatant rudeness .etc.!! I also know homosexuals who are kind gentle as other males ought to be…

      • John L says:

        Fair enough – it’s always the case when someone has an agenda and marches on it. I’m afraid the “gay” rights people do themselves more harm than good in the public eye, whatever our politicians may fear. I was referring to the individuals whom I have known. Sorry for the gross and inappropriate use of the old English word “gay”, but we seem to be stuck with it.
        Why do we have to have gay rights and yooman rights? why can’t we just live and let live?
        I sympathise with people who are abused for what they cannot be blamed for, but all the vociferousness makes not one iota of difference to the abusers.

    • tim says:

      We are all sinners. We all have“gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”. I don’t think we should make too much of a passing remark in a draft report.

      • John Nolan says:

        Tim, this ‘draft report’, its provenance and content (which goes far beyond a ‘passing remark’) is going to be the one document that comes out of this Synod which will be remembered, analysed and commented on in the next year, and will certainly cast its shadow over the 2015 Synod. Although the bishops failed to approve the offending paragraphs, they are to be reinstated for the sake of the ‘discernment’ period which will now follow.

        Pope Francis is going to have his work cut out digging himself out of this hole. Kasper and Baldisseri (not to mention Bruno Forte) are discredited and unless Francis distances himself from these men, something he failed to do in the run-up to the Synod where he seemed to endorse their views, his credibility is seriously compromised. I assumed the Synod would be the usual non-event and was surprised (and secretly delighted) at the drama and High Renaissance politicking which (thanks to the Internet) was exposed for all to see.

  7. Geordie says:

    John L
    Aggressiveness is not always the case on marches. Anti-abortion marches are often silent. The aggression is displayed by observers who are pro-abortion.

  8. I wonder if the sticking point in the draft document on homosexuals may have been the reference to “valuing their sexual orientation”. However much we may value their other qualities, their misdirected sexual drive can only be deplored. Poor drafting, perhaps?

  9. John de Waal says:

    Our Lord’s injunction to St Peter to confirm his brethren is in serious need of being enacted. I am also alarmed by Cardinal Nicholls’ statement seeming to support change in teaching – and not just style – although this is not surprising. He has form.

    I attended the 1980 National Pastoral Congress in Liverpool and was in the Sector on Marriage. Fr Vincent Nicholls, as he then was, preached at one of our Masses. His liberal credentials were very obvious even then. Sadly, we have been badly served by most of our bishops for many years. Cardinal Hume, so I once read, failed to make a single statement about the Church’s teaching on birth control in the whole of his time in office! Just before the Synod on the Family in 1980 a close colleague of Drs John and Evelyn Billings in Australia was visiting London and spoke in our parish at the invitation of our parish priest, Fr James Carolin (RIP). He told me that he had contacted Archbishop’s House, Westminster and offered to brief Cardinal Hume on developments in Natural Family Planning. His offer was not taken up.

    The laity in England and Wales has never had a lead from the hierarchy as to why the Church teaches as it does regarding sexual morality. That lack of orthodox leadership continues.

    Without recourse to Natural Law Morality where is the basis for objective teaching in such matters? I know that Quentin does not wholly go along with the importance of Natural Law Morality but what is the alternative?

    • Quentin says:

      For what it’s worth, I guess that the silence of the bishops lies in their disagreement with the ruling. If so, they could hardly say so. Incidentally, I think that NFP is a truly virtuous path to take. It is a recognition of the intrinsic relationship of the sexual act to the conception of new life. I would suggest to any couple that they should get proper training and use it as a benefit to the marriage – as I did for many years.

      I very much respect the principle of the natural law, probably for the same reasons that you do. However the conclusion of the papal commission (surely the most thorough and expert consideration ever given to the subject) was that there could be good reasons for choosing other methods in a particular marriage or at a particular time in any marriage. It was generally agreed that its prohibition under any circumstances could not be demonstrated through natural law. But so far no alternative demonstration has been proffered.

      I would bet (safe enough for no one could prove it) that if the commission’s recommendation had been accepted, and NFP had been promoted as an ideal to reach up to, many more Catholic marriages would have used it. Indeed there would have been many more Catholic marriages in the first place.

      • John de Waal says:

        Quentin, I have to disagree with you re. Natural Law and your view that it fails to prohibit contraception. The Majority Report of the Papal Commission held a skewed view on Natural Family Planning because the great advances of the Ovulation Method (Billings et al) were not known at the time but were just around the corner. I find Natural Law with regard to this matter logical and compelling. Nevertheless, we can learn lessons from the 1960s. Unfortunately, the Majority Report was leaked to the media in 1966, two years before Humanae Vitae. This gave a huge opportunity to liberals to exploit the situation by promoting the anticipation of change in Church teaching. It seems that much the same has happened this time – although how far Pope Francis has gone along with this is unclear. It is one thing to be “open” and transparent but the process itself can be unsettling and raise false assumptions. This is not helped by Cardinal Nicholls and other liberal Catholics usually trotted out by the media to express the “voice” of “the majority of Catholics.”

        Presumably, please God, there can be no “development of doctrine” which contradicts tradition. And yet much damage can be done by loose talk and imprecise language. This is not to say that Catholic teaching can only be applied with”an iron fist”. I have argued in this column on a previous occasion that we can distinguish between objective right and wrong on the one hand and indivividual culpability and responsibility on the other.

        My fear is that the Church is once again missing an opportunity to uphold truth and explain clearly why contraception is wrong and damaging to marriage and society and failing to promote Natural Family Planning as an effective and positive way to make Responsible Parenthood possible.

      • Quentin says:

        Each of us must of course follow where our reason takes us. But, just for the record, it was the theologians who were opposing any change who accepted that they could not defend the prohibition in terms of natural law. I don’t think there was any issue particularly related to NFP. Indeed Professor Marshall, who was with the commission from the beginning, had devoted much of his professional life to promoting the method. He started with the commission believing that the prohibition should be maintained, but was persuaded by the evidence otherwise. So was the great moral theologian Josef Fuchs. His earlier book, which supported the prohibition, was a classic.

        If you are thinking of moral doctrine remaining unchanged in terms of tradition I’m afraid the cat has already left the bag – there have been several changes counter to the former tradition. And we should expect this because our understanding of nature changes with knowledge and experience. An ironic example is the, qualified, blessing given by Pius XI in Casti Connubii, in 1930, to the use of the safe period. For many theologians the idea that one could actually arrange one’s affairs to avoid conception was scandalous.

  10. John Nolan says:

    The English verb ‘to value’ nowadays conveys, almost as a primary meaning, the sense of ‘to hold in high esteem’. This sense is not implicit in the equivalent verb in Italian or French. Since Pope Francis decided, contrary to precedent, that Italian was to be the official language of the Synod, any translation has to reflect the nuances of that language. Having a Latin text would not in itself have prevented translation problems, since it would itself have been a translation since few bishops these days are competent Latinists. Fifty-two years ago John XXIII identified a trend towards vernacularization and the dangers inherent in it and so issued the motu proprio ‘Veterum Sapientia’. He was right, of course, but was swimming against the tide.

    However, there are other problems with the Relatio post disceptationem. It is only 6000 words long, so rather than rely on selective quotations it doesn’t take long to download it and read it in its entirety. One can then see why many of the bishops were unhappy with it (it was, after all, supposed to be a summary of their deliberations in the first week). It glosses over established Church teaching and in some cases appears to undermine it. Consider the following: ‘Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions, it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.’ [para.52]. Contrast this platitudinous and virtually meaningless drivel with the clear and unambiguous language of the CCC and the CDF ruling of 3 June 2003. In particular, adoption of children by homosexual couples does ‘violence’ to the children concerned, and is ‘gravely immoral’.

  11. Vincent says:

    “adoption of children by homosexual couples does ‘violence’ to the children concerned,” Does it? is there any hard evidence? I would agree that normal judgment would assume that, all things being equal, a child benefits most from having a mother and father. But all things are not equal. There are children living with a single parent as a result of divorce or death. There are children living with parents who are hostile towards each other. Some parents bring up children well, some bring them up badly. I can think of many worse situations than being a child of homosexual parents who care for each other, and who recognise the need for the child to develop his natural sexual orientation.

    • John Nolan says:

      Vincent, that’s beside the point. The Church’s moral teaching is not based on sociological research. The fact that some cohabiting couples may have a better relationship than some married couples, or that some same-sex couples are better at raising children than some legitimately married couples is irrelevant. In any case, as far as I know there have been no studies on the long-term effects on children raised by same-sex ‘parents’. In the US recently there was a case where three (yes, three) cohabiting lesbians had a child by way of artificial insemination. Should he grow up to be a relatively normal adult this would not confer retrospective moral legitimacy on his conception and upbringing.

      You don’t have to accept or live by the Church’s moral law, but that won’t make it disappear. ‘All things being equal’ is not a meaningful expression, since as you point out all things are never equal. Yet, in theory at least, we are all equal before the law.

  12. John de Waal says:

    For a look at the Majority Report on birth control in 1966 please see : an analysis of the majority report by Richard J. Fehring – 13 / ferhing03.

    I think I am correct in saying that Dr John Marshall, whilst being an expert on the old Calendar Method of NFP, did not move with the times with the development of the Ovulation Method. Indeed, I would suggest that having changed his mind along with the Majority Report he had burnt his boats – along with so many other liberals.

    Prof. Ferhing represents a more advanced school of thought in NFP.

    • Quentin says:

      Yes, the Fehring report is interesting and compendious. Unfortunately he does not advance the argument concerning the prohibition – which is the first point to settle. I wonder whether you could do this for us.

      • John de Waal says:

        I am not qualified to give a theological argument but can only explain it in simple terms which make sense to me. Why is contraception prohibited? My understanding of natural law in this regard looks to the purpose of sex. I see it as being love giving and life giving. Prior to Humanae Vitae, I think, prominence in Catholic tradition was given to procreation. The unitive aspect was not denied but considered secondary. Paul VI made both of equal importance. I see this as a valid development of natural law – given a modern understanding of psychological development etc.

        Contraception – by which I understand it to mean artificial methods of avoiding conception is a conscious, deliberate act to frustrate the natural purpose of sex being life giving. Natural methods, whilst having the same intention ie. of avoiding conception, involve a “non-act” ie. abstinence. There is no “act”. Hence, the prohibition (if my understanding is correct) of contraception is based on natural law and, likewise, the affirmation of natural methods is also upheld be natural law.

        A great tragedy was that natural methods at the time of the papal commission were relatively primitive compared with what lay just around the corner and so there was a lack of confidence in NFP and, therefore, a lack of willingness to champion its cause which might have encouraged clergy and teachers to argue in favour of a Humanae Vitae. Sadly, the opposite was true and the Church, ie. the People of God, has suffered from poor leadership.

        I hope this makes sense.

      • Quentin says:

        I think that your explanation makes very good sense – indeed a good deal clearer than the ordinary theological explanations. Thank you. It is for this sort of reason that I champion the use of NFP.

        However the usefulness and accuracy of NFP is irrelevant to this issue. The principle of the ‘disorder’ of artificially blocking the marital act is presented as intrinsic to the natural law. No reason, it is emphasised in italics, can justify it. (HV11) Therefore you would have to be ready to hold your position even if no one had discovered the safe period, and conception was always a matter of pot luck. It would hold even in those cases where health hazards and an indefinite number of babies were the only alternatives to the damage of long term celibacy.

        Would you still hold it? If you would, we can then move on to the next stage.

  13. Claret says:

    Regrettably I am unable to quote the precise source but I recall reading somewhere recently of a book written by a person, now an adult, brought up by a homosexual ( or lesbian) couple in the USA. He spoke kindly of his upbringing but bemoaned the fact that he only had the one sex as both parents. His book prompted others in the same situation to say the same thing.

    Of course this is hardly ‘violence’ but is it making the ‘needs and rights of the little ones , always a priority?’ as quoted above from the Synod.

    • John Nolan says:

      Claret, I knew someone who had been brought up by a lesbian couple and claimed it had no ill effects. He was a bit weird all the same. Of course this proves nothing. The Church’s unequivocal condemnation of homosexual adoption is because the child is exposed to gross immorality on a daily basis, and is presumably taught that such behaviour is morally acceptable.

  14. Lincluden says:

    Milliganp “Sex—————-cannot remove the unitive aspect of it.”
    Please explain the unitive aspects of paedophilia ,ephemophilia,sex with a prostitute or a rent boy

    • Uniting oneself with sin – 1 Corinthians 6:16

    • milliganp says:

      Nothing quite like selective quoting; I started “sex can be misused”. The reality is that most serious paedophiles imagine themselves in love with their victims and do see their actions as unitive – perverted love still contains an element of love.
      You missed out rape, but whenever an orgasm takes place endorphins are released into the brain that have the intention of creating a bond with the subject of the sexual act. This is why casual sex and adultery are so dangerous. The NATURAL desire to do it again creates a disordered affection. We cannot escape this as it is part of our nature.

  15. John Nolan says:

    When Krafft-Ebing defined ‘paedophilia erotica’ in the 1880s he identified it as a mental illness (homosexuality was also so defined until fairly recently). Both are now generally regarded as a ‘sexual orientation’. Ephebophilia is the sexual preference of adults for those in mid-to-late adolescence (typically ages 15-19). Like homosexuality and paedophilia it is not confined to the male sex. Another term, hebephilia, refers to an adult sexual preference for younger pubescent individuals. An ephebophile might be considered ‘disordered’ in an objective sense but if he or she follows this particular orientation to its conclusion (active sexual relations) this may well be within the law, and the act itself, if heterosexual, is not unnatural.

    Homosexual ephebophilia and hebephilia (commonly called pederasty) made up the vast majority of the ‘clerical sexual abuse’ cases. It was common in classical times, although the more fastidious Romans thought the ‘filthy Greeks’ were over-fond of it. The Romans regarded certain heterosexual practices which we take for granted as immoral (notably cunnilingus) and would have regarded the idea of homosexual ‘marriage’ as both ludicrous and repugnant. No adult Roman citizen could allow himself to be sodomized.

    Regarding rape, there is a case for regarding male-on-male rape (which often goes unreported) as objectively more serious than male-on-female rape, since the male victim is forced to undergo an unnatural act.

  16. 1lincluden says:

    Milliganp .selective quoting.
    Your paragraph was a was i selective?however,your sexual science is misleading.if a member of the LWCR has an orgasm,oxytocin the key to bonding is released.however,if a german speaking cardinal at the family synod had visited the red light district in rome,dopamine would have been is a male / female thing

  17. John de Waal says:

    Quentin. Yes, I would hold that contraception is “disordered” even in the circumstances you describe. A disordered act is disordered no matter what. What does change, however, is the responsibility of the one who carries out the act. Culpability can be negligible depending on circumstances. Ignorance , for example, can be a mitigating factor.

    As we know, just as there was no alternative to abstinence before knowledge of the safe period so also there was little access to contraception before modern times (although primitive methods existed). Given the degree of ignorance and the mercy of God I am sure this whole matter did not loom large in the overall scheme of things. Therefore, as far as contraception and natural law were concerned before modern times it would seem to be a matter of academic importance rather than a pressing practical issue. I hope that doesn’t sound too frivolous.

    Given our greater knowledge and access to contraception and NFP the issue is now of much greater relevance.

  18. overload says:

    Some questions about natural law; they can be rhetorical if you prefer:—

    How easy/common is it for a sacramentally married couple to commit sexual sin with one another even if they create a baby at the same time, and, technically speaking, do not perform any “disordered” sexual acts?

    Is sexual arousal outside of marriage always “disordered”?
    If yes, please explain.
    If not:
    1) What is the difference between arousal which is good/ok, and mental and/or physical masturbation/adultery?
    2) Is masturbation always a sin? If so, what is the mental threshold and physical threshold of masturbation?
    3) What is the threshold between physical and/or emotional intimacy with same/opposite sex which is good/ok, and that which is sexual sin?

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