These topics, which to my mind are really one topic, are often cited by secularists, liberals, radical feminists, some Protestants and even “cafeteria” Catholics as issues with Catholic Church teachings. Some see the family as an outdated notion, or one that can be formed, dissolved and formed again to suit changing personal interests. Sex is for enjoyment as long as it is consensual and “safe.” The number of partners and sexual orientation is irrelevant. Life begins and ends when it is convenient – often no sooner than natural birth and lasts until it is decided the quality of life has reached some personal threshold.
The Catholic Church could not disagree more!
One viewpoint elevates the plans and desires of the individual. The other recognizes God’s will as paramount in respecting the sanctity and dignity of all human life. Some are disobedient to God (see What harm is a little sin?) and erroneously assume – with Satan’s subtle encouragement – that obedience would be a hardship. By following their own path into the darkness they are lost and will not find the true happiness they seek.
The Church teaches marriage as a vocation. It is not a shared housing arrangement of “friends with benefits.” It is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman to each other and if so blessed, their children. Family life provides the structure in which children can be properly nurtured and grow.
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Catholics enjoy sex! It strengthens the loving bonds of husband and wife and may bear the happy fruit of offspring. Contrast that with the many “recreational” abuses of sex that are sinful and harmful to the participants. They are disordered and often unnatural. Sometimes the harm is obvious and soon apparent, other times more subtle, accumulating over time. Some examples include premarital sex, contraception, pornography, masturbation, adultery, homosexual acts, promiscuity, immodesty and abortion.
Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.
Few issues are as poignant as abortion. The Church teaches life begins with the miracle of conception through the action of the father, the mother and God. That newly created life is as existent and sacred as all human life, regardless how unplanned or inconvenient it may be. For parents to exercise a supposed “choice” to “terminate” their child is intrinsically a grave evil.
The other side of life is equally important. Euthanasia is the unnatural and purposeful ending of life. It replaces God’s will with our own to determine when and how life may end.