‘I have been a Catholic for a year and prior to that had my own take on sex - as long as you’re not doing anyone any harm, what’s the problem? Meeting Citra, who in her naivety agreed to be my wife, changed everything.
‘From the beginning of our relationship I observed that Citra took her Catholic faith seriously and initially I didn’t have a problem with most of it. I classed myself as a kind of love thy-neighbour guy and was about ready to be a little more committed, selfless and generally more Christian about how I acted and viewed others. However, the teaching of no sex outside of marriage was another factor altogether; I couldn’t believe she would be counting that as a serious issue. On that one, I’d decided men might be from Mars and women from Venus; Catholic girls, however, are clearly from Pluto – perhaps a different galaxy entirely. Still, I’d fallen deeply in love and after two years and a number of eyeball-poppingly frustrating non-encounters we were married.
‘As a result, before and after we were married, I decided I had to understand what the Church has to say about sex. A former colleague suggested I track down a copy of Christopher West’s, ‘Good News about Sex and Marriage’. He’s extremely well-versed in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and the book is excellent – Q&A style, accessible and down-to-earth. In fact, many authors on the subject have pointed to Pope John Paul II’s teaching to show that if we live according to the truth of our sexuality, we fulfil the very meaning of our being and existence.
‘Like anything, we can read until we’re blue in the face but the time will always come when the theology needs to ‘work’ in our lives and our relationships. And it really takes work – and commitment. But the more effort we put into it, the greater our desire to make it work and the happier and more fulfilled we are, because in it we truly discover Christ. Human longing naturally leads to Christ –we are made in God’s image and what we ultimately desire in our lives, whether we realise it or not, leads us right back to Him.
‘In his book ‘Good News about Sex and Marriage’, Christopher West highlights the danger of misinterpreting how we use our sexuality: he wrote, “If we don’t live according to the truth of our sexuality, we miss the meaning of our existence altogether. We forfeit true joy and true happiness.”
‘This is true for everyone, whether sexually active or not. God created us as sexual beings. With regards to marriage, however, what is this ‘truth’? As the father of four young children, I can only really talk from personal experience. You certainly need grace, a healthy prayer life and relationship with Christ and to work on getting past society’s simplistic take on Church teaching.
‘In today’s ‘take’ culture, any form of self-discipline that might affect the generally accepted idea of personal freedom is actively discouraged. Pope Benedict XVI sums up the current climate in his encyclical ‘Deus Caritas Est’ (God is Love). For more see:
http://www.life4seekers.co.uk/onlinemagazine/life4seekersmagazine/index.html (page 14)