Questions on Sexual Ethics

I’m getting a lot of questions on sexual ethics by e-mail and in comments on blog posts. It’s important not to see sexual ethics as if it were a special version of morality, based on a different set of basic principles. All ethics is based on the three fonts of morality: (1) intention, (2) moral object, (3) circumstances. And when the object of an act is evil, the act is intrinsically evil and always immoral.

The only moral sexual act is natural marital relations open to life. Natural marital relations has the threefold good in the moral object of the marital, unitive, and procreative meanings. To be moral, each and every sexual act must be ordered, by its very nature, toward those three goods.

Unnatural sexual acts are intrinsically evil because these acts are inherently non-procreative. And although there may be a mere physical type of union, these acts are not truly unitive, as God intends the union of husband and wife. Certainly also, sex is not moral outside of marriage. But even between husband and wife, unnatural sexual acts are not truly marital. Therefore, unnatural sexual acts — even between husband and wife — are acts of grave depravity, which can never be justified for any purpose, in any circumstance.

I’ve recently reduced the price of my book: Roman Catholic Marital Sexual Ethics (Kindle edition) to just $3.00. I also have made available, free online, many articles on sexual ethics and ethics in general here: Catechism.cc.

Please learn the teachings of the Church on ethics, so that you can use your conscience will be enlightened by Christ when you make important decisions in matters of morality.

Many commentators online are proposing various systems of rules and exceptions, so as to try to justify unnatural sexual acts in marriage, or the use of abortifacient contraception or mere contraception, or to justify other acts condemned by magisterial teaching, traditional moral theology, and the teachings of the Saints and Doctors of the Church. But sexual ethics is not some new field of knowledge. The teachings of the Faith on morality are based on the eternal moral law. One cannot propose a new approach to sexual ethics, based on some new set of rules and exceptions, without in effect proposing a new gospel and a rejection of magisterial teaching.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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