Two principles capture the essence of the Catholic tradition on sexual ethics: that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life, and that any human genital act must occur within the framework of marriage. In the Catholic tradition, moral sexual activity is institutionalized within the confines of marriage and procreation, and sexual morality is marital morality. But theologians Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler contend that there is a disconnect between many of the Church's absolute sexual norms and other theological and intellectual developments explicitly recognized and endorsed in the Catholic tradition, especially since the Second Vatican Council. These developments include the shift from a primary static worldview to a historically conscious worldview, one that recognizes reality as dynamic, evolving, changing, and particular. By employing such a historically conscious worldview, alternative claims about the moral legitimacy of controversial topics such as contraception, artificial reproduction, and homosexual marriage can faithfully emerge within a Catholic context.
Convinced of the central role that love, desire, and fertility play in a human life, and also in the life of Christian discipleship, the authors propose an understanding of sexuality that leads to the enhancement of human sexual relationships and flourishing. This comprehensive introduction to Catholic sexual ethics - complete with thought-provoking study questions at the end of each chapter - will be sure to stimulate dialogue about sexual morality between Catholic laity, theologians, and the hierarchy. Anyone seeking a credible and informed Catholic sexual ethic will welcome this potentially revolutionary book.
Todd A. Salzman is a professor of Catholic theology at Creighton University. He is the author of several books, and is coeditor of Marriage in the Catholic Tradition. Michael G. Lawler is Amelia and Emil Graff Professor Emeritus of Catholic Theology at Creighton University. He is the author of several books, including Marriage and the Catholic Church: Disputed Questions. Together they are the authors of the award-winning The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology.
Prologue"Nature" DefinedPerspectivism vs. Relativism"Nature," Knowledge, and NormsConscienceQuestions for ReflectionNotes 1. Sexual Morality in the Catholic TraditionHistoricitySexuality and Sexual Ethics in Ancient Greece and RomeSexuality and Sexual Ethics in the Catholic TraditionReading Sacred ScriptureOld Testament TeachingNew Testament TeachingThe Fathers of the ChurchAugustineThe PenitentialsScholastic DoctrineThe Modern PeriodVon Hildebrand and DomsSecond Vatican CouncilPapal Birth Control CommissionConclusionQuestions for ReflectionNotes 2. Unitive Sexual MoralityConjugal Love and Sexual IntercourseMultiple Dimensions of Human SexualityChastityTruly Human and ComplementaritySexual Orientation Complementarity and Truly Human Sexual Acts: A Reconstructed ComplementarityHolistic Complementarity, Truly Human Sexual Acts, and Sexual NormsConclusionQuestions for ReflectionNotes 3. Marital MoralityModern Catholic thought and Marital MoralityMarital Morality and ContraceptionContraception and Historical ContextsA Renewed Principle of Human Sexuality and ContraceptionTotality and the Conjugal ActThe Inseparability Principle RevisitedConclusionQuestions for ReflectionNotes 4. Cohabitation and the Process of MarryingCohabitation in the Contemporary West: What the Sciences Tell UsThe Meaning and Nature of CommitmentBetrothal and the Christian TraditionHistorical ConsiderationsSociotheological Considerations Complementarity and Nuptial CohabitationMarriage as SacramentCatechumenate for MarriageConclusionQuestions for ReflectionNotes5. HomosexualityThe Bible and HomosexualityHomosexual Orientation and the BibleInterpreting the Bible on HomosexualityMagisterial Teaching on Homosexual Acts and RelationshipsThe Moral Sense of the Christian People and Homosexual ActsThe Morality of Homosexual Acts ReconsideredConclusionQuestions for ReflectionNotes 6. Artificial Reproductive TechnologiesDefining Artificial Reproductive TechnologiesThe CDF's Instruction and ARTsARTs and Health Complications among ChildrenFamily and Society: ARTs and the Common GoodConclusionQuestions for ReflectionNotes EpilogueIntrachurch DialogueExtrachurch DialogueQuestions for ReflectionNotes Index