Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput.Photo: RICCARDO DE LUCA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
What is the purpose of sex for human beings? No really, I’m serious. What do you believe is the purpose of sex? Is sex only for procreation to sustain our species? Or is it also for other purposes? If so, what are those other purposes?
What about because it makes us feel good? What about as a way to bring people closer together, not only physically but also emotionally? Spiritually? What about because it constitutes a natural human need and function? For human touch? For bodily release of fluids, tension, frustration? For enhancement of our emotional stability?
I ask these questions as someone who was not raised within an orthodox religious tradition, and who is thoroughly bewildered by the anti-sex (sexphobic) and, therefore, anti-human doctrines of many of these religions.
For example, based on Pope Francis’s recent document “On the nature of family life and marital love” (AMORIS LÆTITIA), Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Caput told unmarried Catholics, divorced Catholics, and Catholics who have re-married outside the Church that they must say “caput” to sexual relations and “live as brother and sister” if they are still interested in receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and penance (confession).
He wrote on the archdiocesan website on July 1 that “Catholic belief, rooted in Scripture, reserves all expressions of sexual intimacy to a man and a woman covenanted to each other in a valid marriage,” calling this an “unchangeable” tenet.
Though he didn’t tell people with same-sex sexual attractions to live as siblings as well, he commanded that:
Those with predominant same-sex attractions are therefore called to struggle to live chastely for the kingdom of God. In this endeavor they have need of support, friendship and understanding if they fail. They should be counseled, like everyone else, to have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Penance, where they should be treated with gentleness and compassion.
Gentleness? Compassion? How “gentle” and “compassionate” is it for any person or institution to extort one’s sexuality for the honor of being permitted to rest among the flock, to find acceptance from one’s family, friends, peers? How realistic is it to live in a dualistic binary separation splitting the mind from the body, in which the mind holds sway over the “sins” of the flesh?